Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

Make Your Own Rakhi – 2017

If you have been following the blog for some time you would probably know that every year darling daughter and I make hand made Rakhis. The festival of Raksha bandhan holds a special significance in our close knit family and making our own Rakhis makes it sweeter for us. Staying outside India this is one more way of keeping my kids closer to our culture and traditions. 

When VMJ was younger I would choose the kind of Rakhis we made and did majority of the work. Now that she’s a big girl of 5 she insists on choosing the design and shopping for supplies on her own. These days she is into reading and writing so alphabets were heavily on her mind while picking a rakhi pattern. She decided to make name bracelets for her brothers and picked up colorful letter beads from the craft store. Since heart is her favorite shape and she loves colors, she also picked up a box of colorful heart beads and string in bright colors. I would have preferred regular cord over the elastic one but the elastic one had more colors and glitter so was darling daughter’s obvious choice.


The rest was easy. We threaded beads in the string – full names for the younger brothers and only initials for grown up brothers, added heart beads on both ends.


VMJ’S eldest brother got married last winter so this year we were excited to make our first lumba rakhi for her new Bhabhi. In case you are not familiar – lumba is a special, more decorative rakhi for brother’s wife. Instead of the typical rakhi thread a lumba had a loop of string that is knotted around the bangle. For lumba we had bought special charms that dangle from the main loop. A smaller charm from the set was added to our rakhi to make it into a set for VMJ’s Bhaiya Bhabhi. This is how our rakhi and lumba set looks.

The best part about these rakhis was that darling daughter was able to make them on her own, I did help with tying the knots and making the lumba but that was it. 

I love how they have turned out, hope you like them as much as we do. 

Hurry now! Get your supplies and make some pretty ones for your Bhaiyas and Bhabhis.

Happy crafting!

– A

    Crafty baby, Disciplining your child, DIY, Parenting

    DIY Calming Bottle/Glitter Jar

    As darling daughter is getting older she’s growing more sensitive to the idea of time out. If I ask her to go in a corner she sulks and pouts and outrightly refuses to do that. But there are times when I do need her to calm down for both her and my sake. In order to make time out fun for her I considered making a calming bottle. Of course there was added advantage of doing a craft together which is darling daughter’s most favorite thing to do!

    Things we used :

    • Empty glass bottle (I used glass bottle that came with Starbucks frapuccino)
    • Glitter glue 
    • Extra glitter 
    • Confetti and assorted beads/tid bits
    • Hot glue gun (to seal the cap close)

    How we made it :

    • We squeezed out one part glitter glue in a bowl and added 2 parts hot water. 
    • Whisk it together until there are no glue lumps in the mixture. 
    • Pour it in the clean bottle and add confetti, beads and more glitter as per your liking. 
    • Let the mixture cool down. Once cooled, close the lid and seal it with hot glue gun. 

    Now give it a good shake and enjoy the glitter floating in the liquid. Your glitter jar is ready!


    Notes:

    • It would be advisable to use a plastic bottle when making it for young kids.
    • If the mixture is not completely cooled before you close the lid, the plastic bottle may shrivel and ruin your efforts when it does cool down. 
    • Adding too much glitter glue would make the mixture too thick and glitter won’t settle down.
    • Closing with hot glue gun is important so the child doesn’t spill the contents while playing. 
    • This glitter jar is not perfect because the glitter does take a little long to settle down. I’ll experiment with other mediums and keep sharing my experience. 

    Darling daughter enjoyed making the jar, she carefully chose stars and snowflakes from the confetti mix I got from Walmart. We used her favorite Frozen themed acolors and she was thrilled with the results. It’s another thing that we haven’t needed to give her a time out since we have made the calming bottle so I can’t really comment on its effectiveness… 😃

    Do try this fun and easy project with your little one and share your experience with us!

    Happy crafting!

    -A

    Crafty baby, Parenting

    DIY Diwali Craft – Paper Marigolds 

    Every year we make Diwali decorations at home. This gives me an opportunity to get darling daughter excited for the festival and spend some more time with her. A decorated house is a bonus that we all enjoy 🙂

    Marigold Flowers: 

    When I think of Diwali marigold flowers are one of the first things to come in mind – bright yellow, orange and my favorite maroon ones. I do see marigold flowers in farmers market sometimes but their availability on Diwali is highly doubtful so I usually make paper marigolds to use for decoration. Last year I made these. They came out pretty well and looked real. This time I wanted to make marigolds another way just for the sake of trying a new technique. 

    Method: Take a paper napkin (already folded in square) and fold it in smaller square. Put 2 staples in the centre in the shape of a plus + sign. Now cut the corners to get a nice round circle. Just do a freestyle cutting rather than drawing a circle and cutting. Make small incisions about 2-3 mm apart on the outside periphery of the circle. Now take each sheet of the tissue and crumble lightly in the center. Continued to do one by one until you finish all. Your lovely fluffy marigold is ready. 

    I have used combinations of napkins to make more colorful flowers. You can do that by layering them before folding.

    These are very simple and quick to make. I did until step 4 myself and asked my 4.5 year old daughter to crumple them as per step 5. These marigold are flat at the base so can be stuck on a ribbon or used as a rangoli on the floor or table. I have tried with different color combinations. Make whichever color you like best. Stores are flooded with red, orange and yellow colored paper napkins to celebrate fall so you’ll not have any trouble finding the supplies. 

    Happy crafting!!

    -A

    Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

    Celebrate Rakshabandhan 2016 with Handmade Rakhis

    It’s Rakhi time again. In our family Rakshabandhan is a big occasion, we tie rakhis to cousins and second cousins as well. This is the second time we are not able to celebrate this festival with family and the least I can do is help my daughter make rakhis for all her brothers so she is involved and stays in touch with the traditions.

    Every year I try to choose a design that is easy for her to make with minimal help from my side. These are the rakhis we have made in previous years. This year I chose rakhis made out of felt and stones. They look pretty and are fairly easy to make.


    Felt is an easy material to work with. It is readily available in a variety of bright colors. Is fairly inexpensive and easy to cut. The only challenge with felt is sticking it together. It doesn’t hold well with fevicol or other easy crafting glues but hot glue works like a charm on felt. In one of my trips to the craft store last year I had over-enthusiastically bought a hot glue gun*. Finally I was able to put it to good use while making these rakhis.

    What you need:

    • Felt sheets (Any 2 colors of your choice)
    • Decorative stones/buttons/glitter glue/pom-poms
    • Thin ribbon 
    • Hot glue gun

    The method is pretty simple.Cut circles from the felt sheets and stick them on each other. Top it with the decorative item of your choice. I have used stone but you can use anything you have available. Stick the ribbon at the back or in between the 2 rakhi layers. And Voila! Your lovely rakhis are ready.

    *Caution – Please be very careful while using hot glue gun if its your first time using it. DO NOT give it in the hands of young children and while using yourself, ask children to keep safe distance from the gun. Follow all instructions properly. Its safe to use but the glue and tip of the gun get extremely hot. Despite being careful I got a nasty burn which was very painful for a few days and I have the mark even after a whole month. 

    Now that your beautiful rakhi is ready, spare a minute to pack it equally well. Take a small rectangular card. I used the blank note cards from market (5″ x 3.5″), you can cut your own from card stock paper. Write your Rakhi message on the card and tie the rakhi on the side. Not only does it look way more presentable than putting rakhis in an envelope, it helps keeping them in good shape till they reach their destination.

    Hope you enjoy making these beauties as much as we did.

    Happy crafting!

    -A

     

     

    You might also want to read Rakhi & The Changing Paradigms.

    Crafty baby, DIY

    Father’s Day Craft

    Every year I think what can we do to celebrate Father’s Day. In the past years we have done a father-daughter picture enlarged and framed, senti father-child poem with hand print and a hand made card with hand print tulips. You can read more about how we made these here.

    Last year we made a house craft with birds to show Papa and his 2 munchkins.


    Last year was a big year for our family as we had our second child and had moved to US from India. During the move my husband had moved earlier, me and the kids had joined him about 10 weeks later. The baby didn’t care but VMJ took it hard and missed Daddy dearest too much. So on Father’s Day we made a craft to signify home is where Daddy is!

    I and VMJ chose a small wooden house from our local craft store and then VMJ picked 2 colors to paint the house with. We also bought 1 big Papa bird and 2 small baby birds. 


    Back home, we painted the house. VMJ did most of the paint job and I finished the edges. We then left it for a day to dry. Once dried completely we fixed the fake birds on the house. VMJ said since the baby is small and can’t move, he’ll stay in the house and since she is big she will be out with Papa. So, the bird on the roof with Papa bird is mademoiselle while the bird in the house is her baby brother. She wanted to do more to the house so we used alphabet stickers to write “Love You Papa” on one side of the house. 

    My husband  was traveling on Father’s Day weekend so we made a photo collage of his pics with both the kids and shared a soft copy on phone. The day he was to come back VMJ wanted to make another special craft for him, so we did a rainbow with fruit loops. It also helped me keep her busy as she waited for Papa’s flight to land. 


    Papa was so happy to see his gifts and took the house to work the next day to keep at his desk 🙂

    We are still thinking about what to do this year. Inspire us by sharing what you are doing this Father’s day!

    -A

    Crafty baby, Festivals

    DIY Christmas Ornaments

    It is that time of the year again – the time when you hit snooze button on your phone alarm every morning, when your tea is generously flavored with ginger, when the air is cold and crisp, when everyone looks forward to sunny afternoons after a hazy morning and one wonders how fast the last few months have flown by.

    Onset of winter also brings Christmas cheer, especially if you are in the western world. Even if its not part of your culture Christmas is usually a favorite with kids – the idea of a chubby jolly fellow bringing them candy and gifts is exciting.

    I bought a small Christmas tree on VMJ’s first Christmas to expose her to this festival. When she got older we started having Christmas party for her friends and made Christmas crafts. This is what we made last year:  Learn how to make it here

    This year we are in the US and VMJ is having the time of her life with the plethora of holiday activities and  with the decorated trees and streets everythere. While thinking about Christmas gifts for her teacher it struck me that I should include a hand made card from Vaanya. The idea evolved into a hand made Christmas ornament when I realized that it will be something new and more fun.

    Attempt 1:

    We started off with making ornaments with white clay. It was easy but somehow didn’t appeal to me. Moreover curiosity got better of VMJ and she poked and played with the beads until they fell off. Idea rejected for now!!  

     Attempt 2:

    Next attempt was with ice cream sticks. We painted them, glued them together and decorated them. It was fairly easy, quick and I liked that it involved a few different skills from start to finish. We loved the end result. This is how it looks: 

     

    You will need:

    For Christmas Tree ornaments:

    • Ice cream sticks
    • Green Acrylic Paint & brush (I didn’t have green so we mixed blue and yellow)
    • Fevicol/ All purpose glue
    • Decorative items – Pipe cleaners, glitter glue, small beads, stickers, ribbons… let your imagination take control

    For Raindeer ornaments:

    • Ice cream sticks
    • Brown paint & brush
    • Googly eyes
    • Thin red ribbon

    For Snowflake ornaments:

    • Ice cream sticks
    • Blue and white paint & brush
    • Decorative items – Glitter glue, sparkly stones
    You will need a string or thin ribbon to attach a loop for hanging and you are done. Hang them on your tree, gift to teachers or send with the holiday card to family and friends – no matter what you do these are going to be a hit!
    Hope you and your child enjoys making them as much we did!
    Happy crafting!
    -A
    Crafty baby, Festivals

    DIY Diwali Crafts

    Diwali is around the corner and I roped in VMJ in making some Diwali crafts. She enjoyed and I got my decorations ready… win win for both! 🙂

    If you haven’t bought or made your Diwali decorations yet, try these crafts. They are fairly easy and quick, and you can make them using stuff lying around the house.

    We made Kandils, Clay Diyas, Bandanvar and Crepe paper flowers.

    Material you will need for Kandil:

    • Cardstock paper
    • Crepe paper
    • Glitter sheets
    • Thread/ribbon
    • Glue

    Just follow the design, its fairly easy to make.

      

    Material for Bandanvar:

    • Card stock paper
    • Glitter paper
    • Glue
    • Long ribbon
    • Pattern scissors 

    Nukta inspired this one. She showed me a picture of her pretty toran and I copied her design, tweaking it a bit.    

     

    Material for Diyas:

    • Crayola white clay
    • Assorted colorful beads
    • Paint

    I only made a fancy outer shell for real lights. Molded it in shape and pressed small beads in the clay. We are waiting for it to dry to paint it but I feel it is looking good as it is also. You can decorate with anything… Make patterns, use sea shells, pebbles… Anything at all. 

    Material for Crepe paper flowers:

    • Crepe paper
    • Pipe cleaner

    The crepe paper flowers are very easy to make and look like beautiful marigolds. You can use paper of only one color or 2 colors. Watch the video tutorial here.

    You might also want to learn another way to make paper marigolds here 

    Hope you like these and enjoy making them as much as we did.

    Happy Diwali everyone. May the festival of lights illuminate all aspects of your life and brings you countless joys.

    -A


    Crafty baby, Festivals, Recipes

    Star Shaped Meethi Mathhris (Sweet Whole Wheat Fritters)

    Today was Ahoi Ashtami – the day I fast for my 2 munchkins and pray for their good health and well being. As a tradition we make meethi matthris and suji halwa on Ahoi for the evening pooja.

    As I was making mathris, VMJ came in the kitchen curious to know and see what’s going on. Seeing how she wouldn’t let me alone I decided to involve her in mathri making too. My dough was ready, so I rolled it and asked VMJ to cut it in shapes using a cookie cutter. She was more than happy and chose star shape. She cut and I fried and we both had a good time.

    The matthris did come out very nice and crispy. Because VMJ was involved in the making and because she loves stars she happily snacked away on the star fritters. And they are healthy too as I used whole wheat flour, ghee, sesame seeds and very little sugar. 

      

    I used the following recipe from Nisha Madhulika:

    Ingredients:

    1 1/2 cups Whole wheat flour 

    1/4 cups Suji (semolina)

    1/4 cups Ghee (clarified butter)

    1/4 cups Sugar 

    2 tbsp Sesame seeds 

    1/4 cups Water 

    Ghee/ oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)

    Method:

    First dissolve sugar in water if you are using granulated sugar. 

    Mix all ingredients except for water and mix well. Then slowly add sweetened water and make a firm dough. Now cover and leave it for about 15 min.

    After 15 min heat the oil on medium. Make small balls from the dough and roll into matthris. If you want you can also cut them in various shapes using cookie cutters. Fry on medium until golden brown. Take them out on a tissue paper to absorb the excess oil. Let them cool and enjoy!!

    These mathris should be stored in an air tight container and stay good for about 2 months. 

    You can find the video here.

    Happy Ahoi Ashtami everyone. May God bless good health and happiness to all the children.

    -A

    Crafty baby, Festivals, Parenting

    DIY Last Minute Halloween 2015 Costume under 45 minutes-Chef

    I had no plans to dress up my son for Halloween this year. I was just slacking to think and was being lazy. On Tuesday, at the school I was told that Thursday is the costume day and all the kids will be dressing up and going out for trick or treating. With no plan in mind, I freaked out. At night, my son, as usual asked me for my cooker and spatula so he can “cook” food for me while I cook him his dinner. While watching him play, it stuck me, why not make him a chef? All I need is a Chef’s hat and an apron.

    Now my mind started thinking how to make all that in such a short time span. I figured I can possibly use parchment paper and A4 size white sheets to make a hat. I googled and I found just the video I was looking for.

    Now for the apron. I figured we are running out of milk and I can run to Braum’s (a small grocery and ice-cream store) and get their sturdy brown bags and use those to make the apron. Equipped with a plan, on Wednesday evening, went to Braum’s and got 3 gallons of milk (and 3 brown bags with it). Next I grabbed two sheets of white paper, 3 foot long parchment paper (from my stash of baking items) and gathered the rest of the stuff as pictured below:

    IMG_0105

    I used the following video to make the Chef’s hat:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mGJ6zFkl34
    Next I cut open the seams of the brown bag, folded it in half-inside out, cut out a hole to put it on and shape of arm pits. Then I stapled the two pieces together and used glue and stapler to put on the pocket on the apron. The pocket was actually the printed side of the brown bag that already had the Halloween print. Additionally, I put scotch tape on backside of all the staples so that they do not hurt my lo. Here is the end product under 45 minutes, from things that can be found at home easily. Additionally, I recycled the grocery bags and my little one enjoyed helping me and testing the costume out 🙂

    IMG_0122

    IMG_0112

    ~N

    Crafty baby, Playtime

    Best Out of Waste (1)

    Creativity is not just in creating beautiful pieces from an assortment of pretty colors and materials, its also in creating something of value from seemingly useless things. During our regular chit-chat call the other day when my friend VC mentioned that she doesn’t buy craft supplies for her 2 year old twins, I was intrigued. I knew that she does daily art projects with her kids and was curious to see how she does that without the paraphernalia that I can’t seem to work without.

    I didn’t need to wait too long. Next day she sent me video of a car she made using an empty carton. It was not fancy but it served the purpose as I saw the twins happily play with the car in the video clip. I filed it in my memory to use later and soon got the opportunity too. Hubby was traveling for work again and VMJ being Daddy’s girl was not happy about it. To keep her from sulking I suggested why don’t we make an aeroplane and go meet Papa! She was only too excited to cooperate.

    I got a sturdy carton and cut windows and holes for VMJ’s legs. She then painted the outside and once the paint dried she decorated it with stars, pompoms and made eyes. For the wings we added 2 balloons on the sides.  

      

    The result was a pretty funny looking plane but hey… it kept her busy for good 2 hours and later both VMJ and baby VSJ had fun playing with it. It was a brilliant idea and all thanks to VC for showing me the ropes!  

     
     

    One can make it for school Best-out-of-waste craft competitions, or as a cheap and entertaining toy for your child. 

    Happy crafting,

    -A