Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sweet Heart Pops

This is an adorable idea for teacher gifts or gifts for friends during Valentine's celebrations.  This recipe will make 6 lollipops and you can present them nicely using lollipop bags that can be found at craft stores such as Michael's or JoAnn's and tied off with a ribbon.

12 mini candy canes
6 paper lollipop sticks (6 inches long)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Red, white, and pink nonpareils or sugar sprinkles

1. Heat oven to 235 degrees.  Use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place the candy canes together so they create a heart shape and bake them for 10 minutes.

2. Quickly slide the parchment paper and the candy canes onto a working surface.  Use your fingers (this is a job for the adult) to pinch the candy canes around the lollipop stick.  The stick should start at the top of the heart where the two candy canes meet and go through the bottom in the middle.

3. Use the microwave to melt the white chocolate chips and oil together.  Microwave in 10-second intervals and stir in between heatings.

4. Once the chocolate was completely melted, spoon the mixture into the center of each heart, then top with the nonpareils or sugar sprinkles.

Let the pops cool completely before serving or wrapping.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yarn Ornaments

This craft is great and easy for children of all ages.  Create a glue mixture using 1/4 cup of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan.  Stir until the mixture is smooth then heat the mixture over medium heat until it is thick and translucent.  Remove from the heat and allow it to cool to the touch.  This mixture can be stored in the fridge for a week.  If it gets too gelatinous, then stir in 1/4 cup of hot water.

Cut yarn into pieces of about a foot long.  Use a cookie cutter to create a desired shape or you can free form it but cookie cutters are great ideas for smaller children.  Put the cookie cutter down on the shiny side of parchment paper.  Have your child coat a piece of yarn in the cornstarch glue so it is coated.  Run the yarn through their thumb and forefinger to remove excess glue and then place the yarn inside the cookie cutter.  Repeat this process until the cookie cutter has a thin layer of yarn throughout the entire shape.  Clean hands then come back and push the yarn flat.

Gently remove the cookie cutter (this is probably best for an adult to help small children with) and allow the yarn ornament at least a day to dry completely.  If you need to speed up the drying process you can place the parchment paper and ornaments directly into the oven set on "warm" for an hour or two.

You can use these for many different occassions.  Use red, white and pink yarn and a heart-shaped cookie cutter for Valentine's Day.  Green yarn with a christmas tree cookie cutter can be used for Christmas.  This can also be used for mother's day, birthdays, or even general decoration.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Paper Weaving

This is a great craft for kids and it is totally affordable.  You can use many different types of paper or even fabric.  Paper bags work great but so does construction paper.  If there is a theme or holiday around the corner you can paint the paper using colors that bring the theme or holiday into your craft.  When using paint, you can add a little bit of water to the paint so when it dries it doesn't tend to flake and it spreads easier.

You will want several panels of paper (it really depends on how many strips of paper you need and how many varieties of paper patterns you want to use).  Pick one paper that will be used as the base.  fold this panel into half and mark a line one inch from the edge of the unfolded side.  Make slits from the folded side to the line on the unfolded side at one inch intervals.

Take the other papers to be used and cut one inch strips (make sure you cut the paper so the strips are long enough to fit  from side-to-side on the base paper).

Weave the strips of paper through the slits in the base.  Using a glue stick or tape, secure the ends of the strips to the base.

Enjoy your beautiful cloth-like craft!