BOOK GIVEAWAY & Craft: Being A Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness

The BOOK GIVEAWAY is now closed. The winner has been notified. Congratulations!

PROJECT: Make a moving puppy puppet with fasteners!

How do we learn to savor the present, untroubled by the past, unworried about the future? In this delightful, meditative book, author Maria Gianferrari shows it’s as simple as being like a dog: “Stretch while you rise. Wag your body. Greet the day and everyone you love.” Being A Dog is a perfect read-aloud for littles, who will love mirroring the motions of the sweet pup illustrated by Pete Oswald.

To celebrate this book publication, I wanted to create something full of movement: something that will wag, romp, nap, munch, sniff and stretch just like our canine hero. Why not a moving pup-pet with fasteners that allow for pouncing paws and a thumping tail?


  • homemadecity coloring page (just click the download button above)
  • cardstock
  • fasteners
  • crayons, markers, or colored pencils
  • scissors
  • hole puncher (preferable smaller size)
  • popsicle stick
  • masking tape
  • optional: googly eyes


  1. Print out a copy of the homemadecity coloring page linked above. If possible, print on cardstock.
  2. Color in your puppy puppet! I sponge-painted my puppet for a dappled fur look, but crayons, markers, or colored pencils work just as well.
  3. Cut out the pieces and punch holes at the indicated spots (marked by stars). This might be a step for grown-ups or older children.
  4. Add googly eyes and bedazzle however you see fit!
  5. Attach tail, legs, and jaw using paper fasteners. For the legs, attach one leg in front of the body, and one behind.
  6. Attach popsicle stick to the back using masking tape or other kind of tape.

Once you’ve made one doggo, make it a friend and put on a puppet show!

To learn more about author Maria Gianferrari, go to; you can find illustrator Pete Oswald at

Paper garland

I am getting pretty excited about decorating my house for Christmas. Oh the crafty possibilties! I saw this post on How About Orange this morning and thought these paper ball ornaments would look pretty great strung together to make a garland. It seems like a nifty update on traditional paper chains, which I also love.  All white would be quite sophisticated, but it’s hard to pass up the chance to use some pretty colored paper. For those people who save wrapping paper, this would be a great way to use up some of your stash. I plan to get my little elf to help me. Stay tuned for the finished garland!

Origami Ties for Great Guys

A few reasons why I love my dad:

1. Sometime in my twenties, he decided he didn’t need a special occasion to pick up the phone and call his kids. He calls whenever he feels like it, just to say hello.

2. He’s the kind of grandfather who volunteered to change diapers. Now he gets down on the floor and digs into the LEGO bin alongside his grandkids.

3. Every year, he dresses up as Kate Smith for the Fourth of July parade and sings “God Bless America” in falsetto, very, very badly.

In case these reasons make him seem like he’s not a high-achieving, productive member of society, let me assure you: he’s also that.

So for this Father’s Day, I’m giving him the most original gift . . . a necktie! But this one is made of paper, is 2-inches tall, and is completely impractical. Which makes it more original.

 I learned to fold an origami necktie at the web site, Origami Club, which offers a mad assortment of origami projects with step-by-step animated instructions. The animation doesn’t necessarily illuminate some of those tricky, ever-elusive folds, but it’s cool.

Have you always wanted to fold a spotted toadstool? (Origami Club calls it by its proper name–“fly agaric”–and helpfully points out that it’s a poisonous mushroom. In case you plan to eat your origami? I don’t know.)

I love this Japanese school bag & this polka-dot dress, too.

But back to neckties: I used 2″ origami paper, but you can also use other paper and cut out a 2″ square. Make sure to use paper that is appropriately garish–who wants a tasteful tie for Father’s Day?

The trickiest fold is the tie knot–first, you fold a little triangle up, and then reverse the fold, so that the triangle is now inside the knot. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you try it. Then glue your tie to a blank card (I chose mustard-colored stationery from PaperSource) and press.

If this cute card isn’t enough to please your dad, follow up with a homemade coupon good for 1 hug.

Paper Rollercosters

This paper craft for kids comes straight from one of my favorite museums: the Peabody Essex in Salem, Mass. Yes, it has an amazing Asian art and Maritime art collection (including a room-size model of the S.S. Queen Elizabeth, which never fails to impress us). But sometimes we go just to hang out in the sunny atrium designed by architect Moshe Safdie, admire the sky, and pretend it’s not 4 degrees outside.

The paper rollercoaster craft (offered as part of the PEM’s “Eye Spy, Playing with Perception” exhibit through May) had the qualities of a good kids’ project: simple enough for little guys to enjoy and interesting enough to engage bigger kids. Plus you probably have all the stuff you need right in your house: glue sticks, strips of colored paper, and a piece of paper for a base.

Dab one end of a paper strip and press to the base. Twist, bend, or loop–then glue the other end and press. 

    My 10-year-old made his rollercoaster a continuous circuit. My five-year-old’s design defied the laws of physics, but he thought it looked really cool.


 On the way home, we drove by the Salem harbor,

 and it was winter again.

Bugs from recycled bits

Here’s a mantra to repeat to yourself when doing crafts with kids: process, not product. It will turn you into the craft whisperer. Especially if your child (like mine) swirls paints and blends play dough until each art work takes on the brackish hue and glurpy consistency of a murky bog.

Making bugs from bits collected from the recycling bin ended up to be a good project for everyone in my house, plus some friends. And the end results (not that I would be so superficial as to care, dear craft whisperer) were kind of cute. Plastic milk caps, bread tags, paper clips, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, ribbon, and scraps of paper turned into an pleasant infestation of creepy crawlies.