Mixed media projects are a favorite of ours. Mixed media is great for preschoolers to adults. I love mixed media and had fun making these winter birds, but for me the best part is watching my 5-year-old during her creative process. It is amazing. I wanted to make a cardinal and my daughter opted for a chickadee or a “chickpea” as she refers to it. We have a printable template for each of these winter birds available for your convenience.
Mandala Sugar Paintings
We love trying different paint methods and techniques. We have tried many fun processes, but sugar painting is by far my favorite. I’m just so in love with this technique. It is fun to watch and the results are just gorgeous. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at our mandala sugar paintings.
Roll & Wrapped Clay Pendants
My daughter and I work a lot with clay. We love our clay craft projects. There are just so many possibilities.
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We usually just make our own salt dough clay, but I had been curious about polymer clay for a while & wanted to experiment with it. The polymer was so easy to work with & was fun to work with as well.
I didn’t really know what I wanted to make, but just started breaking off chunks & rolling them into balls & long strips. I played with the long rolled strips a little & came up with something cute, fun & easy to make.
Roll & Wrapped Clay Pendants
To form a flower-like creation, break off chunks from a few different colors of clay. Roll them lightly together into a ball & then roll out with your fingers to make a long thin rope-like strip.
Roll in at one end a couple of times to form a small spiral. Then loosely wrap & loop around & under the spiral.
After you have reached your desired size & shape, roll out a strip of green clay & form loops to form leaves.
Follow package directions to bake your pendants. When they are hardened & cooled, run a craft string through one of the loops. You may tie off at the ends or attach a clasp to the string. These were so fun to make. I couldn’t stop making them.
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Salt Dough Mosaic Frames
We love clay & play dough projects in our house. My daughter just can’t get enough of it. We make new dough every week, sometimes even a couple of times a week. We are just about settled into our new home, but are still missing pictures on our walls. I thought it would be fun for us to make some homemade frames together.
We started with a simple clay recipe.
2 1/2 cup of flour
1 1/4 cup of water
1 cup of salt
1 Tbsp of oil
1 Tbsp of cornstarch
Mix all the ingredients together & then knead with your hands. My daughter always loves this part. You may need to add less or more water.
Roll out your clay.
Cut a few long strips out of your dough & then cut into small squares.
Cut out a shape for your frame & then cut out the inside window. Use a photo as a template to know how big to cut your window.
Lightly wet the top of your frame. Press the squares on top until the frame is covered. Press the squares in enough so that they stick. For my frame, I etched designs in with a toothpick. Since Mother’s Day is nearing, I thought that a Mother’s Day themed frame would be a good choice. Mai chose to draw in her designs after.
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour & then flip your frame & bake for another hour. Depending on the thickness of your frame, you might need more or less bake time. When hardened, remove from the oven & let cool.
Paint your squares with acrylics or glaze.
After the paint dried, Mai used a marker to draw in her designs. She wanted to write letters & numbers on hers.
Glue yarn or a ribbon to the back to hang & glue a picture to the back. (We used crazy glue. Let adults apply crazy glue.)
My daughter was so proud of her finished project. She asked that both be hung in her room.
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When I was a young, I was never what you would consider a popular girl. I wrestled with several social issues. As a child, I was taunted for being Asian. I was called every stereotypical ethnic slur that you could think of. I was a rather chubby child until I reached high school, so that gave the mean kids in my school more ammunition to use against me. When I reached high school my body changed, but unfortunately most of these people remained the same. Like many schools, ours had its fair share of cliques. I was often disliked or dismissed because I was not a part of any of these groups. High school was not a fun time for me.
Our daughter is an only child. I have tried to expose her to other children as often as possible for her to understand the importance of socialization, sharing & patience. Along with daycare, we have play dates, assorted classes & playgroups to assist with these. Much to my heartbreak, I have witnessed that exclusion, cruelty and bullying are not just reserved for teens.
Recently, my child was playing with an older group of already established friends. She approached them with her usual cheerful spirit & energy, filled with excitement to meet each & every one of them. As she was introducing herself, the foursome turned and walked away, leaving her standing there alone. I felt a stab in my heart as my sweet girl watched them walk away. Luckily being a resilient toddler, she quickly moved on to independent play. I was more wounded by this interaction than she was.
It made me look ahead. It made me scared for the future. It is a certainty that through the years that she will feel the pain of hurt feelings, exclusion and children’s cruelty. With any luck she will keep her resilience. She will understand that the opinions of others do not define her. My wish is that she never tries to conform to be accepted by others. As time goes on and she encounters this more and more, I hope that she keeps her same gentle spirit, that she does not give in to the taunting of others and that she is always true to herself. In the meantime, I will do my part to try to instill these values in her & pray that her adolescent pain is kept to a minimum.