Quick n' Dirty Coffee Filter Flowers

Hello, all. It's time for a new quick n' dirty tutorial: Coffee Filter Flowers!

These are a great bang for your buck. Super cheap, really easy, nearly fool-proof, and suitable for displaying in actual grown-up inhabited rooms.

Here's what you need:

* Basket style coffee filters (3 per flower)
* Pipe cleaners, green or brown
* Pencil
* Scissors

And here's how it's done

1) Flatten your stack of coffee filters. Then fold in half, half again, and once more so that your circle is divided into eights.

2) Place your filters on the table with the point down. With a pencil, draw an arc from one corner, down to the center of the paper, and then arc back up to the opposite corner. Don't obsess over this: "good enough" is very nearly as good as "perfect." Also, after you have made a few flowers, you may not find it necessary to draw this guideline any more!

3) Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut along your line, making sure to keep just under it so that…

Diva Challenge 304: Waybop - and Shrinky Dinks!

I was glad to see Waybop featured in this week's Diva Challenge. I was immediately drawn to this tangle when I first saw it a couple of weeks ago. You get a lot of bang for your buck, with a surprisingly simple set of steps yielding a complicated, cool-looking image.
The one thing I haven't figured out is how to make it play nicely with other tangles. I've tried a few auras, or gems in the middle of the shapes, etc, but I'm not finding it easy or instinctive on how to flow it together with other patterns. (Unlike most of you other Diva Challenge participants, I see! I am getting lots of fun ideas!)

That in mind I decided not to even try today. Instead, as I also needed to occupy my girls, I pulled out my little stock of hoarded #6 plastic takeout containers and made Shrinky Dinks!
I let Waybop play all alone on mine, with just a few jewel and seed shapes to fill in the empty space.

 Before shrinking. Image is 2 - 2.5 inches in diameter.
After shrinking. Colors are dark…

A Typlical Homeschool Day

I Just wrote a "week in the life" post a few days back, but I didn't really go into detail on how school itself has been working lately. Yesterday one of the mothers at dance class asked me how long I usually spend on school each day and my off-the-cuff answer was 90 minutes. I think that may be underestimating things a bit, actually, so I'm going to give a try at documenting what we actually do on our "normal" days.

School starts promptly at 9 am. In my dream world, that is. :)
Maybe I should start back a little earlier.
The alarm goes off at 7:45. I usually make it downstairs a couple of minutes after 8 where I quickly make a sandwich for David to take to work when he leaves at 8:15. The kids have usually already begun serving themselves breakfast by that time, but somehow actually eating seems to linger past 8:30 if not longer.  I serve myself something which I eat while simultaneously doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen (I work better in the morning, …

One of those Weeks (in the Life)

James has "The Empire Strikes Back" on the TV. Grace is watching "Masha" on the other laptop. David has Lucy at Costco. And I am completely amped up on the caffeine from my "decaf" McDonald's coffee. Probably can't sit still long enough to craft anything, so I'm going to give a try to a "week in the life" post.

Sunday 1/29:
Lucy has a bit of a cough, which fills me with dread regarding the rest of the week / month. But she doesn't seem to feel too yucky, so we ignore it for now. (Isn't it fascinating, though, that the more a toddler is likely to cough or sneeze, the closer to the food table she seems to stand?!) I have snacks to bring to church (Costco muffins, mmm!) , as well as my standard duties on the laptop.
We hang around a little longer than usual after church, but the girls especially still don't want to leave. Eventually we get them into the car and head home where I grab an extended nap. A smaller crew joins us …

Diva Challenge 301: Duo-tangle

It's been many, many months since I last participated in a Diva challenge, but this evening I had some free-ish time since my husband had the two older kids at Taekwondo. So I gave the 3-year-old some pens and grabbed one of my own.
This week's challenge was to duo-tangle Paradox and Diva Dance. I've always had a little trouble with the latter, but tonight it flowed better than usual. I also feel like it's a pretty good match with Paradox - which I do like, especially when rounded.
Anyway, here it is. And hopefully I'll have more opportunities to play along this year.

Update I had even More free time later, so I pulled out the new, massive set of colored pencils my husband got me for Christmas. I didn't even try to limit my palate - just went full rainbow. :) 

Fairies In A Jar: Easy Gift Idea

My daughter is always drawn to the beautifully packaged craft kits when we walk through a store like Michael's or Joann Fabrics. I am too, but not so much the price: $15 - $20 for maybe $5 worth of supplies and a nice instruction sheet? I can do better!
Remembering the fun we had with our Flower Fairies last month, I suggested we make a fairy kit for one of our little friends who is having a birthday, and as I was about to get a plain ol' zip-top bag to package the supplies, I happened across a Mason jar instead. Voila: fairies in a jar!

Here's what we packed inside:
* One "silk" flower (from a Dollar Tree bush), separated into petals and leaves
* Four green pipe cleaners
* Two wooden beads for heads
* Hand-full of pretty plastic beads
* Two 4-inch hanks of embroidery floss

I hung a tag with a link to the instructions on ribbons around the neck of the jar, and that was it.
Quick, easy, pretty, and best of all, cheap! *

Here's my tag image if you want to print…

Kids' Photo Prayer Book

Kids Photo Prayer Book Project (and a Freebie!) 
I've always wanted our bedtime prayers to be more than a simple rote recitation.  In addition to thanksgiving, personal requests, and repentance, I want my kids to grow up praying for the important people in their lives. But there are a LOT of them! First, there are something like 10 cousins on my husband's side, most of whom they have never met as we live on opposite coasts. Add an extra set of grandparents / step-grandparents on that side, four total great grandparents, and the three cousins on my side and the list is getting pretty long. Plus, I'd really like to have them pray for our missionaries, our sponsored children, and our own friends from church and preschool co-op.
Do this all by memory, with squirrely children who are frankly less than interested, was becoming unworkable.
Enter my upgrade to the Toddler Family Flash Cards project.
In a nutshell, I labeled and printed photos of our family members at 3x2 inches…