Parachute and Landing Pad Toy Craft


My husband just had his birthday. I was badgering him for weeks to find out what he wanted for his birthday. He didn’t have an answer. Until the day before. The day before his birthday he told me, “I’d really like to go skydiving for my birthday.”

I wasn’t completely shocked. Skydiving has come up before… but not in an uber-serious way. I’m not completely thrilled with the thought of the love of my life jumping out of an airplane… but he really wanted to go, and without resorting to extreme hypotheticals – why not?

As a fun way to actually GIVE this gift to him, I made him some parachute super heroes and a drop zone. The drop zone was on the bottom of a box that opened up flat, so that it was easy to fold back up and wrap with the parachute men inside. And it was a fun thing for him to pay with the boys as well.

If you want to make your own drop zone parachute toy, here is what you need:
Box that opens flat
Pencil or Pen
Several sizes of plates
White paint (I used DecoArt Patio Paint)
Red paint (I used DecoArt Patio Paint)
Paintbrush
Plastic grocery bags
Small toy men
String
Black paint pen or marker (I used a DecoArt Glass paint pen, which is great on glass, but worked well here as well… I love getting multiple uses out of products!)

Start by tracing your plates on the flattened box.

Paint the entire circle white. Let it dry. Paint every other ring red. You should be able to see your pencil lines through the white paint. Allow to dry. (You can see I like to pour paint into disposable cupcake liners – they work great!)

While the bullseye is drying, lay out your bags. I used these plastic bags from target. Lay them out flat, and cut squares as large as possible from the plastic. I used squares from both the front and back – one side has the bullseyes, one side is plain white.

Cut two lengths of string each 3 feet long. Tie one end of a string to one corner, and the other end to another corner. Repeat with the second string.
Line up the corners of the parachute, and pull the strings so they are parallel, then tie around your toy. Trim any excess string.

To store, I folded the plastic parachute into thirds, and then wrapped in the string so that they wouldn’t get tangled.

By the time I finished making the parachutes, the paint on my drop zone was dry. I used a black paint pen to trace the circles, and then added the words “drop zone”.

The parachutes were a hit with the boys! This is the least blurry of all my photos of them playing – they had a ball!

And skydiving was a hit with my hubby!

Ice Cream Pizzas

My 4-year old loves Team Umizoomi. If you don’t have small kids, you don’t know that Team Umizoomi is a team of 3 tiny cartoon characters (4 if you count Umi Car), who run around Umi City helping their friends by using their “Mighty Math Powers”.

Team Umizoomi has helped to teach my son math issues like units of measure, identifying patterns, and shapes. They also reinforce proper social behavior like sharing and helping friends. One of my son’s favorite episodes is about Ice Cream Pizzas. The ice cream truck has broken down, and can’t get down the street to bring ice cream treats to the neighborhood children. The ice cream treat of choice is the ice cream pizza. My son asked me if we could make ice cream pizzas together, so of course I said yes!

We had to start by getting our ingredients. Large sugar cookies, vanilla ice cream (which I allowed to soften) and gummy candies. In the show they use a striped candy. Since we couldn’t find the right color striped candy, I went with these gummy candies that are the right color, but weren’t the right size. I cut them down to size for our pizzas.

I spread the softened ice cream on to cookies. I had softened the ice cream so that it was about the consistency of margarine.

I cut up the gummy candies and then let my son put them on. Team Umizoomi used 5 candies on their ice cream pizza, and so did we.

All that was left was to chow down! Nom!

Mod Podge Dinosaur Wreath

This Dinosaur wreath is so simple to make that I don’t have an official tutorial for it… but if you want to make your own, or something similar, here is what you need:

Tissue paper (I used the leftovers from my pennant banners)
Ribbon (I used rainbow colored)
Foam craft sheet
Extruded Foam ring (this smooth surface works great for Mod Podging)
Hot Glue
Scissors
Ballpoint pen
Mod Podge
Paintbrush
Google Eye

Use the Mod Podge to layer the tissue paper on the wreath. Make sure the wreath is fully covered. Adding multiple layers will increase the depth of color on the wreath.

Once the wreath is dry, tie a large bow on one side with the ribbon.

With a pen, draw your dinosaur shape on the craft foam, and then cut out.

Hot glue dinosaur on the bow of the wreath, attach the google eye, and hang the wreath.

Dinosaur Smash Cake

For Little Moore’s first birthday, three and a half years ago, I made a small car cake for him to smash into. He doesn’t remember, but he has seen pictures. Quite a few times he has requested that I make him a car cake again. I’m sure I will… but before then I had Baby B’s first birthday cake to make. For Baby B, we were throwing a Dinosaur Birthday Party. I had all kinds of fun ideas planned (I’ll share more with you soon – I promise!), but the cake really had me stumped. Dinosaur cake. How was I going to make this happen?

Sure, I could make a traditional cake and slap some dinosaur toys on it. But I really went all-out for his brother’s birthday… and being a second child myself (and my mother was a second child too), I’m very conscious of second-child syndrome. Yes, some things are going to be different for Baby B than for his big brother… but I’d like to have some things the same, too. So I got baking.

I used one boxed cake mix to make 2 round cakes in 6″ cake pans. I’ve had these cake pans forever, and love them. I used them for Little Moore’s first birthday as well. I got them my last semester in college when I lived in a tiny apartment with no oven. When we were first dating, I used them to bake a birthday cake for my husband in a toaster oven!

I covered a small cutting board to use as the base. I then cut a slice off the bottom of the first round to make the bottom of his legs, and cut off each side to make the front and back of the body. I cut a notch in the middle to make the legs.

From the second cake I cut an arch to make the head, and a pointy bit for the tail, and then put them by the body piece like so:

Yup! Already starting to look like a dinosaur! I then cut the top so the cake was level. Now he looks like this:

I used canned frosting, and gave him a thin layer of frosting. This is called a “crumb coat”. I didn’t worry about crumbs everywhere, because this is getting covered up later. I just wanted to seal everything in. At this stage, he looks pretty ugly.

I tinted frosting green until I got it the right color, and then put it in a piping bag. I grabbed the largest tip I had, which happened to be a star tip. I then piped the green all over every inch of the cake.

With a knife, I smoothed out the frosting.

I added a couple touches later with a contrasting color, for fun… but that’s optional. This is really a simple cake to make – I promise! And, he had his shining moment in the sun… before he was reduced to this…

I hope that in four years, Baby B will look back at photos of this cake and ask for a repeat as well!

Sugar Cookie House Decorating Party

When I was a child, we got cookie cutters for making gingerbread houses. And every year, I’d bake gingerbread, cut out the pieces, and we’d make entire villages of cookie houses. It was one of my favorite Christmas memories.

After I moved out on my own, I found my own set of gingerbread house cookie cutters, but I started substituting a firm sugar cookie dough for the gingerbread. Because although I love the smell of gingerbread, I find that most people prefer the taste of sugar cookie. Myself included.

I want my sons to grow up with the tradition of making cookie houses. Last year we built them with cousins. This year, we invited friends over to come build with us.

I sent out e-vites to the parents, inviting them to come over. They were asked to each bring a bag of candy, and I’d provide the houses.

I headed out to Smart & Final to pick up what I would need: plates to use as the house bases, ingredients for the sugar cookies, ingredients for the icing, and some candies to get the party started (and add variety). You’ll find each recipe I used for the party at the end of the post. I also used plastic tablecloth on the roll from Smart & Final on the table – makes clean up so much easier! Smart & Final is a great place to shop when hosting a party – they have everything from plates to chafing dishes to to-go boxes so that your guests can take home their leftovers!

The day before, I made the cookie parts, let them set, and that night I used Royal Icing to put them together, and secure them to the plate.

The next morning I made Buttercream frosting for the kids to use. I find that Royal Icing is too tough for most kids to squeeze out, so I used Buttercream for the kids instead. Royal Icing is great to keep candy on securely, since it dries candy-hard, but the sugar cookie houses for the kids didn’t need to get that hard, so Buttercream frosting worked just fine. I put a couple tablespoons into each zip-top bag, and snipped off a corner of the bag to make multiple icing bags without multiple couplers and fancy cake tips… and also with less mess! The sipper side of the bag prevents the frosting from accidentally coming out the back.

All the candy was put in bowls in the middle of the table. This way kids could easily get what they needed.

The kids had a blast creating their houses!

Firm Sugar Cookie Dough
2 1/3 c flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
1/2c butter
1c granulated sugar
1 egg
Mix egg butter, and sugar. Beat until well mixed. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Put in fridge for at least 20 minutes. Roll out onto a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin, and cut to size. Bake for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Royal Icing
3tbsp Meringue Powder (find in the baking section of your craft store)
4c sifted powdered sugar
6 tablespoons water (a little more or less as needed)
Put all ingredients in bowl and mix well. BE CAREFUL, if the icing gets too thick, it can and will break your mixer… it is like food cement. If the mix is still to heavy, SLOWLY add water 1tsp at a time and keep mixing until done.

Buttercream Frosting
1/2c shortening
1/2c softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
4c powdered sugar
2 tbs milk

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a mixer until fully incorporated and creamy.

Get more great holiday ideas below or at the Smart and Final Social Circular. You can also check out Smart & Final on Twitter and on Facebook.


I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Smart & Final #CBias  #SocialFabric #ChooseSmart

Hanging Canvas Quilted Tapestry Wallhanging

I’m not sure what to call this. I started with a UPrinting Rolled Canvas. I added some fabric, quilting, upholstery fabric, binding… and hung it on the wall. Though I’m not sure if it is a quilt, a tapestry, or a wall hanging, I do know that I LOVE it, and it was super simple to make!

Supplies:
UPrinting Rolled Canvas
Scrap Fabric
Upholstery Fabric
Spray Adhesive for Fabric (like 505 spray)

I ordered my rolled canvas from UPrinting. Super easy. All I had to do was upload my picture (I just LOVE this picture of my boys), select my size, and enter my information to have it delivered to me in just a few days. I ordered the canvas untrimmed, but they will trim it at no extra charge.

Since I ordered my canvas untrimmed, I had to trim it down. I trimmed it with a scant quarter inch of white, which will disappear into my seam allowance. I could also trim it to the size of the photo, and my finished piece would be about a half inch smaller.

I cut my fabric scraps into 2.5″ strips. I stitched one to the top and one to the bottom, and then finger-pressed open. I was worried about using a hot iron on the canvas.

I stitched rows on the sides as well. To get a scrappy look, I cut up the rest of my fabric, and stitched the pieces into one long strip. I used this scrappy strip to add a second border. This one I pressed open with an iron, careful to avoid the printed picture.

I had some upholstery fabric left over from when we staged our house to sell. Six years ago. I swear I’m not a hoarder, despite much evidence to the contrary! I just plan really far ahead. For projects I haven’t even come up with yet. Like this one. Where the fabric was ideal. It matched my color scheme perfectly. I attached it to the back with spray adhesive designed for fabric – 505 spray. I considered adding some kind of batting – either regular batting or a fusible fleece – which would add a puffy, quilted look. In the end, I decided I wanted it to be more smooth and flat, and look less quilty.

I did a stitch-in-the-ditch to secure the layers together, and give it a more hand-made look. After sewing, I trimmed the backing to the size of the front.

To make it easy to hang, I added corner pockets to the back of the wall hanging. These are super simple, just squares of fabric folded into triangles and stitched into the corners when the binding is sewn on. Easier than adding a hanging sleeve, and for a small wall hanging, so simple. I just cut a dowel down to size and tucked it in the corner pockets to hang the piece when finished.

I bound the whole thing with a dark brown binding, and hung it on the wall.

When Little Moore woke up from his nap he said “I LOVE it!” And Hubby noticed it immediately when he got home from work, and actually commented that he liked it as well. I’d say this project is a hit all the way around!

Always,

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post. Though I received compensation for this post, all opinions are mine.