Leaf Imprints- Fun Art Project for All Ages!

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Leaf imprinting is a great fall art activity for all ages!  The results are frame-worthy and super fun to do!  Take advantage of the gorgeous fall weather and gather leaves of various sizes and shapes.  A regular piece of copy paper and crayons is all you need to make some awesome works of art.  Place the leaf under the paper where you want it to be, then rub the side of a crayon on top of the paper to reveal the design of the leaf.  Have fun experimenting with different colors and leaves.

I tried this activity with a group of Preschool/Kindergarteners.  They all loved gathering the leaves, but only a few of them actually got into the activity.  If you plan to do this project as a group, I would recommend ages Kindergarten and up.

Pumpkin Paleo Cookies

These cookies are the MVP of cookies- low fat, low cal, and no added sugar!  I love eating these for breakfast or a quick afternoon snack.

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Ingredients:

1 can pumpkin
1 cup mix-ins (flaked coconut is my fav, but you could use chopped nuts, raisins, or anything else that sounds good)
2 eggs
1/2 cup nut butter (I use peanutbutter)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg

 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Drop into 3-4 inch circles onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, check after 10 minutes.  Baking time depends on cookie size.

Makes 13 large cookies.

 

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Custom Photo Calendar Tutorial using Microsoft Publisher- Free and Printable!

Making a custom calendar like this is easier than you might think!

Making a custom calendar like this is easier than you might think!

Are you tired of paying good money for a calendar?  I was!  Usually the calendars in stores have cats, dogs, or cars on them.  I like my calendars to be a little more personal, a little more my style.  So I started making my own.  These are great if you want something cute to write your stuff on and don’t want to spend the money on a calendar from the store.  It’s a super easy way to add pictures of your family or pets to part of your day!

In order to make a printable, 8-1/2 x 11 calendar like the one above, you will need Microsoft Publisher.  I am using an older 2007 version, but the process should be almost the same in a newer version of the program.

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1. Open Microsoft Publisher and create a blank page.  Your page can be any size you want, but make sure your printer supports your selection.  You can also make your page vertical or horizontal, it’s totally up to you.  If you are doing a different custom look for all 12 months, you may want to insert additional pages now.  In publisher, select the “insert” tab and then “page.”  It will have a box for you to type in the number of pages. You will want to add 11 additional pages, so type 11 in the box and click “ok.”  This will allow you to save all 12 months as one file name.

Step 1

Step 1

2. If you added pages to your document, make sure you are on page 1.  At the bottom left of your screen, there should be pictures of pages numbered 1-12.

3. Minimize your publisher document and open a web browser.  Search for a free printable calendar for the month and year you want your calendar to be.  Look for one with clean lines that is shaped to match your page format- either horizontal or vertical.  (I found mine at www.calendarvip.com)

4. Once you’ve found your calendar, open it up to it’s biggest size.  Right click your mouse on it and select “copy.”  This will copy it to your clipboard.

Copy the Calendar to your Clipboard

Copy the Calendar to your Clipboard

5. Open up your publisher document and right click on the empty page.  Select “paste” and your calendar should appear.  Drag the corners in or out to resize the calendar.  You can also move it up and down.  If you plan to add a picture to the top, leave some space there for it.

Note that the edges of the calendar page go beyond the edge of the print range.  That's okay because I don't want all that white space.  Just make sure the calendar portion is within the boundaries of the page.  A good way to test this is to go to "file" then "print preview"

Note that the edges of the calendar page go beyond the edge of the print range. That’s okay because I don’t want all that white space. Just make sure the calendar portion is within the boundaries of the page. A good way to test this is to go to “file” then “print preview”

6.  In order to allow the calendar image to work well with the picture we will be adding, we want to do a couple of things to change the way the image is formatted.  First, right click on your calendar image.  Select “format picture” then “layout” then “none.”

Selecting "none" for format will keep your image stationary when you add other images or text to the page.

Selecting “none” for format will keep your image stationary when you add other images or text to the page.

7. After that, locate the little picture tool bar floating around your screen.  If you can’t locate it, it may be anchored to the tool bar at the top of your screen.  Select “set transparent color” then click on the white surrounding your calendar.  You will notice that all of the white on your calendar has disappeared, making it invisible, or transparent.

Making your outside color transparent allows the picture you will add next to show through.  If you do not do this, you will be limited in where you can place your picture.

Making your outside color transparent allows the picture you will add next to show through. If you do not do this, you will be limited in where you can place your picture.

8. Take a moment to adjust your calendar if necessary.  Now it’s time to choose your picture.  You can add multiple pictures or just one.  If you choose to search for images online, you can copy and paste them onto your page just like we did with the calendar portion.  If you want to add personal photos, you will need to select “insert” then “picture” then “from file.”

This is the path to access photos or other images stored on your computer.

This is the path to access photos or other images stored on your computer.

9. Once your image(s) are on the page, you will need to move and resize them to where they look best. Your images are probably covering your calendar at this point.  Don’t panic!  Right click on the image, select “order” then “send to back.”   Note that since your calendar is transparent, you can see your images beneath your calendar.  Play around with different images and move them around until you like what you see.

Note that my picture is hanging off the top of the page.  That's okay, because I have the "spring" part that I want within the boundaries.  To quickly see what this will look like when it prints, go to "file" and "print preview."  Adjust accordingly.

Note that my picture is hanging off the top of the page. That’s okay, because I have the “spring” part that I want within the boundaries. To quickly see what this will look like when it prints, go to “file” and “print preview.” Adjust accordingly.

10. I chose to add a quote at the bottom of my calendar.  You can add a quote or a place for notes anywhere you like.  Go up to “insert” then select “text box.”  A plus sign (+) will appear.  It will allow you to draw a text box anywhere you like.  Click where you want one of the corners to be, then drag the mouse while holding down the left button to complete the box.  Let go of the mouse button and a box with a cursor will appear.  Add your text.  You can select different heights and font styles on the tool bar at the top of the page.

11. Save your work.  If you’re going to print to a printer or work on the project later, saving it as a publisher document is fine.  If you will be emailing your calendar or posting it online, you will likely want to save as a jpeg.

Saving as a jpeg turns your file into a photo.  Once you save as a jpeg, you cannot open it and edit it in publisher.  I recommend saving in publisher first, then saving as a jpeg.  That way if you see a mistake later, you can open the publisher file and edit, then resave as a jpeg.

Saving as a jpeg turns your file into a photo. Once you save as a jpeg, you cannot open it and edit it in publisher. I recommend saving in publisher first, then saving as a jpeg. That way if you see a mistake later, you can open the publisher file and edit, then resave as a jpeg.

 

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Working in Microsoft Publisher may seem daunting at first, but once you know how it works it opens up amazing opportunities to create custom work.  Invitations, Post Cards, Fliers, Custom Collage Photos….  The possibilities are endless!

 

10 Great Fall Printables for Wall Art

Fall is here!  Add some character to your fall décor by putting some of these cute printables in frames!  Click on the link under each picture to visit the owner’s site and get your own print for free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Hanging Trash Bag- Super Easy!

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My recent acquisition of a new vehicle meant an excuse to make a custom trash bag!  My old one was a little dirty and too large for the space I had.  These bags are fun to make and can be custom made to any size.

Interior Liner:  To help avoid messy accidents, try to use some sort of water resistant material on the inside of your bag.  For this particular one, I cut a piece of plastic table cloth off of a picnic table that’s been in my backyard all summer.  The tablecloth won’t last another season and the corner piece was in excellent shape.  In the past, I have cut apart a reusable shopping bag from Joann Fabric’s.  They are fairly cheap, a plastic coated material, and the designs are cool.

Using a liner gives the trash holder a custom look, makes it more interesting, and can easily be wiped out.

(If you choose not to use a water resistant liner, you might opt to put a plastic bag inside your cloth trash holder.  A gallon sized Ziploc might work well.)

Step by Step Directions:

1. Chose a fabric for the inside and outside of your trash holder.  You will need slightly more fabric for the outside than the inside.

2. Decide how large you want your holder to be.  You may want to measure your space so you have an idea.  Cut your fabric 1/2 inch wider and 1 to 1-1/2 inches longer than you want your holder to be.  If you are making a custom strap for your holder, cut a strip 1-1/2 inches wide and 1 inch longer than your desired length.  (It’s always best to go longer- you can always trim it and reattach if it’s too long once it’s finished)

My material is cut and ready for the next step.  The red material is for the outside, and the teal is a piece of plastic tablecloth.

My material is cut and ready for the next step. The red material is for the outside, and the teal is a piece of plastic tablecloth.

I cut my rectangles 18 x 6 inches and my strip I trimmed down to 8 x 1-1/2 inches.

 

3. Fold down the top edges so that you have a finished look and no fraying.  Do this by placing your rectangles wrong sides together.  Fold your outside material about 1/4 inch down over the top of your inside material, then fold another 1/4 inch down.  Repeat on the other side.  Pin your folds in place.

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4. You are ready to sew the bag together.  Fold it in the middle so that your outside material is on the inside.  In this case, the red material was on the inside when I sewed my bag together.  Sew the sides together, leaving the bag open where your pinned folds are.

5. Take out the pins and turn your bag right side out. (It is inside out right now)

6. Make your custom strap.  Fold your strip long ways with right sides together and sew.

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In order to turn the strap right side out, I like to use a pencil with an eraser.  Insert the pencil into the strap, hold onto the end nearest the pencil point, and use the eraser to help pull out the material from the inside.

7. Once your strap is right side out, it’s time to attach it to your bag.  I chose to hand stitch the strap onto my bag.  I folded the ends of the strap under the fold at the top of the bag, and hand sewed it on.  I also hand stitched a simple row around the top fold to help the material stay in place.  I decided to add an old button to complete the look.

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As I said earlier, you can use this basic design to make any size trash holder.  Below is the first one I made, using part of a reusable shopping bag for water-resistant inside.  Since this bag was wide, I attached twine to one side and a button to the other to keep it from flapping open all the time.  Also note that I used twine on this one instead of making a custom strap.  The key to twine is to tie the ends into a knot before hand sewing them on, that way they won’t slip through the stitches.

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Fall Wall Hanging in a Weekend

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I used leftover fall fabric to make this simple pinwheel wall hanging.

1. Cut three 6-inch squares of prominent material. (My dark leaf squares)

2. Cut one square each of various materials.

3. Cut all squares into the pinwheel pattern, making 4 equal cuts- an X and a +.

4. Figure out your desired pattern and sew together with a quarter inch seam allowance.

5. Trim squares so that they are even.

6. Cut 1-1/2 inch strips for the black border and 2-1/2 inch strips for the outside border.  I chose to add 2-1/2 inch squares on the corners.  Simply sew the squares to the ends of two of the strips.

7. Add a light batting and back.  I chose to machine quilt a simple square along the black border.  Since the wall hanging isn’t large, not much quilting is needed.

8. Add binding.  I chose to make my own.  Cut strips 1-1/2 inch wide and sew multiple strips together until you have more than what you need.  (Binding can be deceptive!)  Iron the strips by meeting the raw edges in the middle.  This will make your binding.

FREE Back to School Printable Art

For us, school is just 2 weeks away!  I thought it was time to find some FREE printable back to school art, and I’m sharing my favorites!  I have posted the link to the host pages under the pictures.  From most of the host sites, you can click on the picture to enlarge it, then right click and save!