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!

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.

Make: Happy Mail #3

The days grow shorter and brisker: time for tea and more snail mail! Inspired by this antique-looking floral scrapbook paper I found in my local craft store, I decided to try my hand at making envelopes. It couldn’t have been easier: just cut and fold, and voila, crisp, pretty envelopes ready for the postman. I made two patterns: one for A4 envelopes and another for A6 envelopes. For most accurate sizing, print at 108%.

What you need:

pattern

scrapbook paper (or other thick stock)

glue stick

scissors

bone folder (or something else that is good for creasing paper–a ruler, pen, etc.)

Just trace the pattern on the back of your craft paper, cut out, and fold and crease well along the dotted lines. Glue where the flaps overlap. Done.

diy-a6-envelope-by-homemadecity-com

 

Make: Happy Mail #2

More happy mail! There’s time yet for summer correspondence before the hurly burly of the school year begins. To spice up your post, I’ve drawn up some non-governmental, very unofficial stamps to get your letters to their destination. Just print out this Happy Stamps link and start coloring. Then glue stick ’em to your envelopes–with proper postage, of course.

 

Make: Happy Mail #1

 

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In honor of the easy hours and unhurried days of summer, I’m sending a slow hello–by U.S. mail. This is the first post of several that celebrates pen-on-paper communication. Who doesn’t want to get a letter in the mail?

For my first batch of happy mail, I painted strawberries, popsicles, sunglasses and striped bathing suits with acrylic paint on a batch of colorful envelopes (purchased individually at my local craft store). I’m not sure how long it took me–maybe no more than an ambling hour spent with paint and brush, sipping afternoon coffee and listening to the radio. That seems to be the point of this project: it’s a simple one, paced at a stroll rather than a sprint.