Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid: Part I

posted by Beret.

koolaid

I never really cared for the taste of Kool-Aid, but oh, how I have always loved the smell of it. That aroma smacks of childhood, warm days, and cheerfully destructive running pitchers:

From www.galleryhip.com
From http://www.galleryhip.com

I don’t really want my kids drinking Kool-Aid, either; luckily, there are plenty of other things to do with it. For the first installment of this two-part series, I hereby present the following projects: scented play dough, hair dye, tie-dye, and slime. Continue reading “Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid: Part I”

Advertisements

Too Cool for School (Supplies)

From Kojo-designs.com.
From Kojo-designs.com.

posted by Beret

Wait. What? It’s September?

My nine-year-old spent the last couple of days of summer vacation in bed, eyeballs glued to Youtube. I was pretty busy having an aneurysm about how to drop off and pick up my kids on opposite sides of town–simultaneously–so I had no clue what was going on up there. But while I tried unsuccessfully to tame my logistical beasts, she taught herself how to do absolutely everything else.

When she wandered downstairs to ask, “Can I make lip gloss out of Vaseline and crayons?” I just stared. “I don’t know if that will work,” I finally said, and she rolled her eyes. “Of course it works,” she responded. “Also, it’s completely non-toxic.” During the ensuing silence, I realized she meant “may I?” not “can I?” which made me feel a bit better. Perhaps she hasn’t completely eclipsed my knowledge base yet.

In all honesty, I had noticed it was September, but being aware and being prepared are not the same thing at all. So when the 11-year-old started complaining about her boring, clunky binders, it was Miss 9 who had all the answers, not me. “Just paint an ombre in a chevron pattern,” she said. “All you need is some acrylic paint and some tape.”

Voilà:

Miss 11's binder project. Whether this is really an ombre effect, or more of a gradient, is up for debate among word fiends.
Miss 11’s binder project. Whether this is really an ombre effect, or more of a gradient, is currently up for debate.

Miss 9 discovered the binder project during her Youtube binge. You can find directions for it about 3 minutes into this video. It was fun, easy, and made all the difference in the cruel world of middle school. We started rooting around, looking for other, cool school-related projects.

What follows are a few of the awesome things we discovered.

Metallic magnets for your locker:

From: http://kojo-designs.com/2013/11/diy-metallic-alphabet-magnets/
Soooo cool and so very simple. From kojo-designs.com.

Book covers with special bonus from the indefatiguable Martha Stewart:

Thanks, Martha!
Thanks, Martha! A way to keep the assignment notebook handy.
She's unstoppable!
Book jacket with pockets. Same link as above.
Got comics? or old calendars? or outdated maps? Slap some clear contact paper on that and go! Awesome.
Got comics? Old calendars? Or outdated maps? Slap some clear contact paper on that and go! Awesome.

Washi tape-covered pencils. Now that Target and Amazon and Walgreen’s are all peddling washi tape…might be time to try it!

Image and idea found on mashable.com. Directions here.
Image and idea found on mashable.com. No-brainer directions here.

Adorable bag for miscellaneous supplies:

Awesome lined bag tutorial from The Creative Place. Please note: I'd advise you to just buy satin cord to serve as the drawstring, unless you like impossible challenges. The rest is easy.
Awesome lined bag tutorial from The Creative Place. Please note: do yourself a favor and just buy satin cord to serve as the drawstring, unless you like impossible challenges. The rest is easy.

Also, I saw directions to make monster bookmarks that were waaaaaay too complicated. Here’s the super simple way I posted a while back:

The easy way.
The easy way.

They did it the hard way, though I love their accessorizing ideas:

From Tally's Treasury.
From Tally’s Treasury–obvi!

Oh and p.s. If you want to make the crayon lip gloss, click here for directions.

Feel free to post links to other interesting ideas in the comments!

Mr. Wuffles!

I took the photo, but obviously this  image credit--and the others in this post--goes to David Wiesner.
I took the photo, but obviously this image credit–and the others in this post–should go to David Wiesner.

posted by Beret Ages:  5-10+

Three-time Caldecott Medal winner David Wiesner has done it again. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he is known for crafting wild tales of new worlds–using few words, if any–with enough detail and complexity to appeal to readers of all ages. Mr. Wuffles is no exception.

Brief Synopsis:

Mr. Wuffles is bored. Mr. Wuffles is cranky. Substandard toys line the halls, untouched, as he searches half-heartedly for something worthy of his attention.

But what’s this nestled amongst the fake mice, feathers, and string?

Continue reading “Mr. Wuffles!”

Origami Bookmarks

 

©2014 Beret Olsen
Taking a bite of Stephen King’s awesome book:  On Writing.                 ©2014 Beret Olsen

posted by Beret

Ages:  Any

Post-its! Sharpies! Tape! Paper clips! I love them all. It is hard for me to talk about office supplies without exclamation points.

But above all, I love paper.

Not the kind that piles up all over my desk, mind you. Nice paper. Paper without issues and overdue notices and undone “to do” lists on it.

I also love to fold things neatly. I am weird like that. Not surprisingly, then, I find origami to be extremely satisfying. The trouble is, once you fold a lovely flat piece of paper it becomes three dimensional. And then it is taking up a lot more space–often just sitting there saying, “Look at me, I am a crane.” So, when my daughter showed me how to make a bookmark with a few quick folds, I was quite pleased. This project doesn’t collect dust and clutter the mantel; this little item holds my place in my book. Or…I suppose I could slide it jauntily over the corner of my ebook, for extra beauty.   Continue reading “Origami Bookmarks”

Smart Phone Macro Lens

posted by Gina

Who knew there were so many ways to hack your smartphone? If you missed Beret’s Smartphone Projector, you’ll want to go straight to that post and catch up.

Are you back? Great. So, you know what’s neat? Super close up stuff. Like this photo of a coffee bean:

IMG_4232

Continue reading “Smart Phone Macro Lens”

Daruma Dolls

posted by Gina

You know what’s fun? Goal setting. No, really – bear with me for a second. You know how you get all excited in January to do your resolution? You know those fun little color coded spreadsheets you make for yourself, with benchmarks and rewards and motivational quotes? Well, some of us do that. But I’m betting you can join me in relating to just about now, when we’ve pretty much abandoned our resolutions by the wayside.

Seeing a goal through is a rewarding experience, and – frankly – we could all use a little motivation and encouragement. And a nifty gimmick with interesting historical roots.

So let me introduce you to the Daruma Doll.

Continue reading “Daruma Dolls”

A Blast from the Past

Gina and Beret are mostly off-duty this week, but we thought we’d remind you of a few past projects to tide you over during what remains of the holidays. Here are projects that are easy, fun, and use common household materials. String of lights? Check. Alka-Seltzer? Check. Put those holiday items to a new use. Continue reading “A Blast from the Past”