Make: Heart Charm Bracelets

I heart Shrinky Dinks. If I have any childhood regrets at all, one might be that I didn’t fully appreciate the joy of watching these little bits of plastic curl then flatten into tiny hard shapes in my toaster oven. I’m making up for lost time this Valentine’s Day.

If you want to a shrink a heart to grow a heart this February 14th, here’s what I did:

  1. On dull side of shrink plastic, I freehanded hearts and colored with color pencil, each heart about 1.5″
  2. I trimmed and punched a hole near the top of the heart shape.
  3. Baked the little boogers! Gleefully and vigilantly watched through glass door of toaster oven (325 degrees, about 2-5 minutes). Once the hearts flatten, remove from oven.
  4. Braided 9 strands of embroidery floss (3 strands in each part) for bracelet.
  5. Used split rings to attach hearts to bracelets. Super simple.

Happy Heart Day from homemadecity!

 

 

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

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This is a quote from Grace Paley, short story writer, poet, activist. Once upon a time, I drank up her story collections The Little Disturbances of Man and Enormous Changes at the Last Minute and remembered these words. I painted them on the mirror that hangs near my front door to remind me that every day is a chance to voice and act on what I believe in and what I hold most dear. Yeah, my faulty memory skewered the quote a bit, which is: “Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world.” Curiously, I omitted the fear (because that’s what I predominantly feel?). Painting words on a mirror gives you some time to think long and hard on them: courage, from the root cor, meaning heart.

(Thank you, Lisa Congdon, for the lettering inspiration.)

Make: 50 Presents

This was so much fun to make–a box of 50 presents for my beloved sister-in-law’s milestone birthday. Ambitious, too. We weren’t sure we could actually make it to 50 gifts but we got there by adding my kids’ school pictures (gift #16) and homemade comics (#6 & 7) and little gifts like a pack of gum (#18). It can be done with a bit of ingenuity. And yes, I did fudge some numbers: a box of 20 birthday candles counted for presents #31-50. We set everything out on the floor and got busy wrapping with rainbow tissue paper and bright tape and numbering with stamps and shipping tags. Happy birthday, T!

Make: DIY Bead Bracelets

It’s a bright, bedazzled time of year in New England–so why not make some bling to match the season? With an assortment of glass beads in glossy fall colors, you can add a little autumn to your arms.

What you need:

stretchy elastic

glass beads

jewelry pieces (I found little silvery leaves and golden bars at my local craft store)

To make: Cut a piece of elastic about 8 or 9 inches long. Tie a knot at one end and thread your beads onto the elastic until you’ve created a strand that fits around your wrist. Firmly knot the elastic (this can be tricky–a couple of times I pulled too hard on the elastic and broke the strand, scattering teeny beads everywhere to the delight of my cat). Trim the ends. Make some for a friend!

Officer Katz and Houndini (and Craft!)

*BOOK GIVEAWAY* Leave a comment below on this post and you will be eligible to win a free copy of Officer Katz and Houndini! The giveaway will be open from October 26 until November 1.

The book giveaway officially closed yesterday and the winner is . . . RebeccaAa! Congratulations–we’ll be in touch shortly.

I love a cat vs. dog story. But as a hybrid cat person/dog person, I never know who to root for. As good fortune would have it, I don’t have to pick sides in Maria Gianferrari’s new picture book Officer Katz and Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails published this week by Simon and Schuster. Readers can enjoy plenty of silly, sticky, maze-bending, catapulting antics before arriving at a satisfying (and collaborative) solution to this classic canine-feline face-off.

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Illustrator Danny Chatzikonstantinou’s cozy autumny teal-orange-maroon palette and his adorable mustachioed Houndini inspired one of my fave kid-friendly craft projects ever: mustaches on a stick! Who doesn’t want to sport a mustache once in a while? And everything is better on a stick. Think old-time opera glasses, but more debonair and dastardly.

What you need:

wooden skewers

card stock in your preferred mustache color

hot glue gun

mustache pattern by homemadecity.com

It couldn’t be simpler: print the pattern and trace on card stock. Apply a dab of hot glue to the back of your mustache and adhere the pointed end of a wooden skewer. Voila! An escape artiste is born.

In case you’re more law-and-order feline than hard-to-pin-down canine, try this pattern instead: an official Officer Katz Kitty City sheriff’s badge. Just trace the pattern onto card stock, cut out, and hot-glue a pin clasp to the back.

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Follow Officer Katz and Houndini’s virtual tour at these blogs:

Monday, Oct. 17: Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) THREE GIVEAWAYS: a query pass from the amazing Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary; picture book critique from me, and a copy of Officer Katz & Houndini!!

Tuesday, Oct. 18: Librarian’s Quest

Wednesday, Oct. 19: Bildebok

Thursday, Oct. 20: Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love

Friday, Oct. 21: Pragmaticmom + THREE book giveaway

Monday, Oct. 24: Homemade City

Tuesday, Oct. 25: ReFoReMo THINK QUICK Interview with Carrie Charley Brown

More about author:gianferrarimaria_hres
Maria Gianferrari’s a lucky dog—she gets to write stories about cats and dogs, and when she’s dog-tired, she can catnap in her office. Maria lives in northern Virginia with her cat’s meow of a family: her scientist husband, artist daughter, and top dog, Becca. She is the author of the Penny & Jelly books as well as Coyote Moon and the forthcoming Hello Goodbye Dog. To learn more about Maria, please visit her website at mariagianferrari.comFacebook or Instagram.