DIY Christmas Stamps

Christmas is almost here so I thought it would be nice to get ready. I mean decorations, cards, packaging, gift tags etc…..all the stuff that sets the tone. This project is very easy, inexpensive and the outcome- unique. Each and every stamp is going to be different. All you need for this project is:

  • scrap wood (which I had plenty of in my garage)
  • adhesive craft foam
  • sharp pencil Easy right?

Cut the wood into smaller blocks, adhere the foam cut to size and draw your design. That is all! Very simple….The best part is that it is easy enough for kids to do, even my 4 year old was able to make some stamps. Think of your designs and maybe draw them on paper to make sure you like them. Once you draw them on the foam press hard to make deep groves so that all the details stamp nicely. Lastly we used paint brushes to brush on some paint onto the stamp, then pressed hard for a few seconds and Tada! So far we decorated plain brown bags and gift tags. We plan on stamping the cards and also brown paper. Enjoy!

Christmas wreath

I am not a freak when it comes to seasonal decorations. I like few simple things that convey the mood and let my creative spirit out. The tree is usually the key piece anyways so the rest has to be toned down.

This year I decided to make a wreath to hang on the door. I love using nature so I used pinecones and vines. I did not even have to go to the woods to get the stuff since the pinecones I found at the College in Geneseo and vines are from my backyard.

I had some spray paint in red and white leftover from other projects. Perfect Christmas colors, I thought, not to mention Polish flag!

I spray painted few pinecones red and some white and let it dry well. I weaved the vines into a circle and glued the pinecones arranged by my son using a hot glue gun. I tied a red ribbon to finnish off the look. What do you think?

 

 

What can you make out of felted sweter?

Running through San Jouan de Dios market I stopped to check out this one used clothing stand. Going through the stuff I found a black GAP sweter that srunk in wash to doll size. It was felted to the point that noone could possibly use it. I looked at it and figured that I could use the felt to make some embellishemnts for my knitting project so I got it for a whopping 15 pesos. When I cut it up and looked at it closer another idea came to my mind.
The back of the sweter after folding formed a perfect size clutch. That is exactly what I did! I also made two coin purses from the rest of the felt. Using my newly acquired knitting skills I embellished them with flowers. I sewed some zippers on and voila!!! It was a perfect gift for a friend of mine.

How to make recycled kids party favor boxes

Living for 6 months in Mexico I religiously collected toilet paper rolls. They really are a great medium for all kinds of projects. We made flower pots, binoculars, all kinds of animals you name it we have done it but this project is a little more practical. This time we made colorful boxes to fill with chocolates and give out to all the classmates on the last day of school in San Miguel.

Material needed:

  • toilet paper rolls,
  • scrapbooking paper
  • decorations
  • scissors
  • glue
  • imagination

Cut the scrapbooking paper in strips as wide as the paper roll. Glue it on the roll and let dry well. Decorate with whatever you have on hand, stickers, paper, in contrasting colors, sequins, buttons…whatever you like. Bend on each side of the roll to close it well. Fill with nuts, chocolates, dried fruit, candy and it is ready! What I like the most about it is that it is small which makes a great serving size of sweets even for the youngest:-)

 

Mobil- a great gift for every little girls room

Wednesday night our friends decided to thow us a farewell dinner at their new house. One last time we had an opportunity to admire the views of San Miguel together, sipping a margarita on their roof top. Of course we had a great time! Great food, great space and the most important- awesome company.

I decided to thank them for their generous gesture by making a mobil from recycled materials for their daughter Helena.

Materials used:

  • a small branch
  • toilet paper tubes
  • spray paint
  • glue
  • string
  • ribbon
  • pencil
  • ruler

 

The most labour intensive part is to make the flowers. You need to flatten all the tubes and mark 1 cm increments. Cut where you marked, you should get 7 or 8 petals from each roll. Glue them together, each flower takes about 6 petals to make.

Once they are all ready and dry, you can spray paint them on both sides. You could also use brush but it is going to take much longer. Spray paint your branch also and let dry.

The assembly:

Cut your string however you like it, I cut mine different lenghts because I like it to be slightly assymetrical.

Make holes in the opposite petals of the flowers and attch the strings. Once you have desired number of flowers on strings tie them to your painted branch.

Now all that needs to be done is attaching the ribbon on the opposite ends of the branch and hanging up on the ceiling. It is so light that it turnes with the slightest air movement:-) Happy mobil making!

 

Spring is officially here!!!!

Yes, to confirm that all the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom with gorgeous purple flowers. They are all over SMA just in time to start Semana Santa, very important time for all the catholics here in Mexico. The view is just breathtaking, see for yourself.

The monarc butterflies are waking up to start their long journey up North pretty soon. Hummingbird nests are popping up here and there but due to their size visible only to the most observant.

Our tree, that was once a Christmas Tree got transformed to welcome new season. It became a home for owels that were made of… Yes, you guessed it, from toilet paper rolls.

With help from my beautiful children, we painted the rolls different colors, then we shaped the roll and used black marker to draw the features of these gorgeus birds. Very easy, cute and fun even for the youngest ones. The shape is also great to make kitties, but we do not want any of them in our tree, especially with the eggs just about to hatch:-)

This is a great recyclable project because all you need is a tree branch, old paint bucket and some paint. This could easily be a permanent exposition in your house or a daycare, the docorations would just be changed to reflect changing seasons. Let me know what you think:-)

 

A shamrock anyone?

Great project just in time for St Patricks day! A shamrock made from toilet paper tube. Very easy, just few things needed and even the youngest ones can do it:-)

Materials needed:

  • 2 toilet paper tubes
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • glue
  • green paint

Here is how you do it. Flatten the toilet paper tubes, measure,  mark 1 inch strips and cut.

You need 5 rings to make one shamrock. Take four and form them into hearts. Cut the fifth to make a stem. Glue all pieces together and paint green once the glue is dry. Feeling lucky yet?

Spring is in the Air

Here in Mexico it is sunny and worm all year round. Yet all of my Mexican friends can not wait for spring…?!?!?! What it means is that it is going to get significantly hotter. For them it is a blessing, for us… not so much. Anyway, we decided to welcome the new season with a flower project. It is cute, made from recyclable materials and easy, because even our almost 4 years old Alexander could do it:-)

Here is what you need:

  • egg cartons (preferably white)
  • toilet paper tube
  • bottle cleaners
  • paints
  • scissors

Cut up the egg carton into 12 cups. Shape up with scissors if needed. They are going to be the flowers. Paint them different colors and let dry. Paint the paper tube as well. This is going to be your vase. Once everything is dry, make little holes in the bottoms of the egg cups and insert the cleaners, the stems. Put your flowers into the vase, no water needed:-) Enjoy!

How to raise multilingual children?

It is fairly easy. Kids are like sponges, soaking up everything without any effort or even concieus idea that they are in fact learning.

There are different scenarios:

  1. The family is moving abroad for a job.

  2. Parents are different nationalities and decide to teach their children their native languages.

  3. Parents know a foreign language very well, so they speak it to their children at home.

  4. Children are sent to school that the curriculum is in a foreign language, parents not necesarily have to speak it.

I personally know many families for every scenario. My cousin Patrycja, who lives in Poland talks to her son only in Spanish that she know very, very well. Our good friends, who lived in Toronto tough their kids Polish and French which are their mother tongues. The kids learned English outside, at school. In our case it was a job transfer to the USA where our children were born later.

We were sure that we wanted to teach our kids Polish, we just did not know how. We realized pretty quickly that it was not natural for us to speak to our daughter in English (despite knowing it very well) and it did not make any sense to introduce it at home since the whole world around us spoke it.

Nadia at a very young age realized that something weird was going on. Many times she had a surprised face, asking why everyone else is speaking different then my parents and I can not understand any of it:-) It changed very quickly, playing with American children every day, she reached their language level in few months. The situation was finally clear – Polish at home, English with everyone else. Sometimes she tried to mix, but we repeatedly and consequently asked her not to.

When she went to school, we started to introduce at home writing, reading and Polish grammar.

At this point she can write, read, speak, understand both languages and she just turned 7 last month.

In the meantime, our son Alexander was born. With his language education, we applied the same approach, except it was much easier because his main teacher was… Nadia. Now, he is 3,5 years old and does pretty good in both languages.

Here in San Miguel de Allende our kids learn a third language: Spanish. We enrolled them in Spanish only curriculum school so it is complete immersion. It has been 4 weeks and they can have a simple conversation, buy groceries at a local store and order their own food at a restaurant. Pretty good as for one month of school…!!!! :-)

Nadia often finds similarities to the languages that she already knows. That only proves that it is easier to learn another language while you already know some.

We also decided to learn Spanish and we use Rosetta Stone program along with real life practice. I have to say it is pretty good and gives me the flexibility to learn at my own schedule. Most days we learn in the morning and in the afternoon we go out and try what we learned with the Mexicans who are very, very patient. :-)

What is your experience? Please share…..

Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree

It’s holiday season, and we have some serious problems getting a real Christmas tree. Even though it’s not impossible, it is rather expensive to get a live tree in San Miguel de Allende. Since our budget is rather short and we are trying to be environmentally concious, Nadia and Agnieszka came up with a version of an inexpensive and eco-friendly Christmas Tree. All it takes to make this holiday decoration is an old magazine (visit your hair dresser if you’re running short on color publications), some ribbons and beads. Or actually, whatever you fancy…