Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2017 Gift Guide: The Best Gifts for Crafters, Bakers, Travelers, and Rabbit Owners

Tis the season for Christmas shopping! Because I hate crowds, I'll be doing most of my shopping online on or before Cyber Monday. Today I'm sharing part two of my Gift Guide. (Here is yesterday's guide to gifts for kids, teens, and families.) Everything is something I own and/or tried, love, and want. If you click a link and make any purchase, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting My Creative Life!


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I love to bake almost as much as I love to eat, which is a lot. I've listed some of my absolute favorite things that the cook / baker in your life is sure to love. I have tons more suggestions, so just ask if you need more ideas.



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Our family does a lot of traveling via car, airplane, and cruise ship. Below are some of our travel essentials, plus one silly item that I couldn't resist adding. 



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I have a page dedicated to my very favorite tools and other craft supplies, so go check them out first and then come back. Are you back? Good. Here are more ideas.


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Of course I have a gift guide for rabbit owners! I considered making a guide for rabbits, but not many of them read my blog. So rabbit owners it is.


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I have tons more ideas, but I had to cut my lists off at some point. If you would like more suggestions, please ask! Happy shopping!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Gift Guide 2017: The Best Gifts for Kids, Teens, and Family Fun

Tis the season for Christmas shopping! Because I hate crowds, I'll be doing most of my shopping online on or before Cyber Monday. Today and tomorrow I'll be sharing gift ideas for everyone on your list. Everything is something I own and/or tried, love, and want. If you click a link and make any purchase, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting My Creative Life!

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When shopping for kids' gifts, I look for the trifecta of fun, affordable, and educational. I don't always hit all three, but fun is non-negotiable. Below are some of my favorites, all of which are Trevor Approved. If you have a specific age in mind and would like more suggestions, just ask!


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You can't go wrong giving teenagers money. I have tutorials for a bunch of creative ways to give money as a gift. Read on for more gift ideas for teens.


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Our family loves board games. I've never counted how many we have, but I'm positive it's more than 100 and we play them all regularly. Here are a few of our very favorites that are fun for the whole family.

  • Labyrinth - quite possibly my very favorite game and that's saying a lot
  • Fluxx - silly, ever-changing, and totally unique
  • Quirkle Cubes - the original Quirkle is fun, but Quirkle Cubes is even better
  • Tsuro - I usually lose and I don't even care
  • Indigo - I always lose this one and still don't care
  • Disney Apples to Apples - great with a big group, and it's still fun when it's just the three of us
  • Exploding Kittens - the perfect combination of skill, luck, and silliness
  • Rummikub - loved it as a kid, love it just as much as an adult
  • Funglish - this game is difficult, but in a good way!
  • Ticket to Ride - hugely popular and for a good reason
  • Sleuth - my mom's favorite game - it's a lot like Clue, but better
  • Blokus - best for four people, but still fun with three
  • Tetris Link - like Tetris without the time pressure

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Tomorrow's post will have four more gift guides. Hopefully you'll find something for everyone on your list. And if not, just ask! I have a lot more suggestions that I'm happy to share. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Travel-Friendly Paper Plate Game

If you'll be doing any travel this holiday season, I have just the thing for you! I made a game from a paper plate and some pom poms that is perfect for car or airplane travel.


Each morning, I drive Trevor and a friend part of the way to their middle school. (We walk the remaining 1.5 miles.) They're only in the car for five minutes, but they often bring a game along and get a few rounds in before I park the car. As I watched them gather up supplies one morning for a not-so-car-friendly game, I decided to come up with something that is more portable. It's a really simple game, suitable for very young children, but they like it. 

I made the game while Trevor was at his book club. While I do the vast majority of my crafting at home, I bet the library is #2 for me!


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Travel-Friendly Paper Plate Game



Materials:

  • paper plate with corrugated edges
  • 8 pom poms (each a different color)
  • black drawstring bag
  • markers
  • 2 mini clothespins


Steps:


Use the markers to color in the corrugated sections of the paper plate, leaving two adjacent spaces blank. The colors should be random rather than in a pattern. Label one of the blank sections START and the other FINISH. Add the instructions for the black and white pom poms in the center. Color one of the clothespins brown. 


Here is a closer look:


To play, put the pom poms into the bag and clip both clothespins to the START area. The first player draws a pom pom, moves clockwise to the first space that is that color, and returns the pom pom to the bag.


The second player does the same: draw a pom pom, move to that color, and return the pom pom to the bag. 


If you draw a white pom pom, you immediately draw again. In this case, Player 1 drew orange. He moves ahead two orange spaces, then returns both pom poms to the bag.


Beware! If you draw black, you lose your turn. If you draw a white and then the black, you lose two turns, since the white doubles whatever follows it. The winner is the first person to land on final colored space (in this case, blue). 

Now make your own game! Follow my instructions or change up the rules and be creative!


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Angry Birds Turkey Thanksgiving Craft

There are a lot of things I love about my job as Editor of Fun Family Crafts. I've told you how much I love creating round-ups, but what I haven't mentioned is how inspiring it is to see all the crafts that our readers submit. When a submission comes in, I am the one who visits the site to see if the craft is something we want to feature. I'm primarily checking if there is indeed a tutorial (versus just a photo of the finished project with no materials list or instructions) and whether the craft is kid-friendly (99.9% are, but the 0.1% keep the job especially interesting). If it's a go, I edit the text, categorize the post by age range, holiday/occasion, and materials, tag the post with all relevant search terms, and schedule it to run. 

I love seeing all the creativity out there and sharing it with our readers! Occasionally, I like a project idea so much that I make my own version. Such was the case with this Angry Birds printable. Here's what I made:


As you can see, I didn't actually use the printable. I loved the idea of making an angry turkey and took it my own direction. An angry turkey seems fitting for Thanksgiving, doesn't it?

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Angry Birds Turkey Thanksgiving Craft



Materials:

  • cardstock
  • scissors
  • craft glue
  • masking tape


Steps:


Basically, do whatever you want. Angry Birds come in all sorts of shapes, so anything goes. Use your creativity! Read on to see how I made mine. 

Cut a teardrop shape from brown cardstock. Add a face. The eyes are two white circles with small black circles inside. Glue one in place, then layer an orange beak over the top. Put a red wattle next to the beak, then place the other eye over it. Add thick black eyebrows.

Cut a pair of wings and a pair of legs from the leftover brown cardstock. Glue the legs in place. I used the rest of the scraps to add dimension between the body and the wings. 


Cut turkey feathers from browns, reds, yellows, and oranges. Arrange them to form the turkey's tail, occasionally placing the body on top to check the spacing. Glue the feathers to the background paper. If your design is perfect and you don't want to risk messing it up by lifting each feather to glue it, use masking tape to join the feathers together. Lift the whole thing, add glue, and stick it to the background paper. 


Glue the body on top of the feathers. That's all there is to it! 

Trevor had a different vision for his turkey. He was adamant that Angry Birds don't have wings or legs, which is true of the game but not true of the movie. 


Here's his wingless, legless turkey. It's awfully cute. 


What a fun project! Make your own this Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Craft Roundups

Time to share another batch of craft roundups!

First up, a roundup of Pizza Crafts and Recipes. Two of these are mine, both from Trevor's pizza-themed birthday party.


I don't think I've ever crafted with denim, but there are some really good ideas in this denim roundup.


This candy corn round-up was so much fun to make. The collages come together so quickly when the color scheme is obvious.



I had a lot of skeleton and skull projects to choose from for this round-up. Two of them are mine. 


Next, witch-themed crafts. We have over 50 on Fun Family Crafts. One is mine and it's in the collage. 


The Frankenstein crafts were really fun. (Yes, I know that technically these are Frankenstein's monster.) One of them is mine.


Dracula crafts and recipes! One of them is mine. I'd forgotten about it. Rediscovering older projects, both mine and other people's, is another thing I love about doing these round-ups.


I'm a huge fan, so putting together a round-up of Muppets crafts and recipes was great fun! None are mine. 


I was proud of myself for thinking to turn the title of this Airplane round-up into an airplane banner. Skywriting would have been cool too.


How adorable are these Sesame Street crafts?! None are mine. I did make an awesome Cookie Monster cake once, but I didn't write it up as a tutorial so it's not on Fun Family Crafts. 


As always, I made these round-ups using PicMonkey. It is really easy with almost no learning curve. They are adding new fonts, design elements, and themes all the time. I don't know what I'd do without it!

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win