Archive for the ‘craft’ Category



October was a pretty busy month! I took a week-long trip with my husband, there were halloween costumes to make, trick or treating to be done, and another KCW to plow through. But at the very beginning of October, my oldest turned 8. The rule in our house is you can invite as many people to your birthday party as years old you are turning. That’s confusing to say, but it’s a simple concept: you’re turning 8? 8 people can come to your party.


My daughter approached me in the summertime with the idea that maybe she could just invite 2 or 3 people and have a sleepover instead. I said yes right away, because 3 girls sounds like a lot less work than 9 girls. Turns out a sleepover is actually a 16 hour party and it’s a lot of work no matter how many people come. But she was so excited for her first sleepover I couldn’t say no.  Why have a sleepover, when you can have a sleepGLOWver?!


My daughter wanted a glow-in-the-dark theme and I have to say, it was awesome! She and I made a bunch of neon medallions (foldy circles? pretty party thingamabobs? no idea what they are called) for decorations. I bought a black light, thinking the medallions would glow at night. Turns out you need to buy 10 black lights to make that happen–one does not cut it. Oh well, they were fun to make and are still up because they’re so beautiful.


A few things did work , thank goodness. We jammed glow stick bracelets in the bottom of clear plastic cups, put another clear cup on top, and filled it with lemonade. Glowing drinks! Eight glow-in-the-dark spiders crawled on top of the cake. Glowing birthday cake!


We also put glow sticks and bracelets, light up balls, light up hair extensions, and glow-in-the-dark stickers in see through takeout containers. Glowing party favors! They looked super cool and the girls (and 2 brothers) didn’t even notice them until it was dark. We played glow-in-the-dark ring toss and a few games with the light up balls. Glow games! I bought glow-in-the-dark silly string for prizes. Big Glowing Mess!




I suppose it’s a sign of a good party when you have to vacuum in the middle of it. The party went glow-ver well (sorry). Pinterest did most of the thinking for me, I just went to Michael’s and bought everything glow-y. I stole most of the ideas from this amazing glow-in-the-dark party. I’m guessing that lady bought a whole case of black lights!

In our house we only do birthday parties with friends every other year (because, well, you get it). This was the year for everyone’s party! In February we had a fire and ice party for a 6 year old, in August we had a banana party for a 4 year old, and in October we had a sleep-glow-ver for a 8 year old. Whew! Next year it’s pizza and bowling for everyone!

banana birthday party!

banana birthday party on elsie marley

My youngest turned 4 last week and we had a little birthday party to celebrate. He is very heavily into two things at the moment: cheetahs and bananas. Deciding between a cheetah party and a banana party was difficult, but bananas won out in the end. There aren’t a whole lot of banana themed party goods out there, so we had to make up our own.

banana phone on elsie marley

For a craft, we made a bunch of banana phones–you know the banana phone song don’t you? They are just tin can phones that we made with yellow cups and string. I thought they would be a little tricky for 4 year olds to make, so I made one for everyone ahead of time. We put them out with markers and stickers, and the kids decorated their own phones. I have to admit I was surprised they worked–and so well!

banana favors on elsie marley

For favors we gave out bunches of bananas! What else?! I scratched the message on with a toothpick. I’m kicking myself for not writing “thanks a bunch!” How did I miss such a perfect pun? Oh well.

banana birthday party by elsie marley

I was going to write banana jokes on the bananas too, but ended up putting them on the bags for the pinata candy. Here are a few more, because I know you need some bad banana jokes today:

  • Q: What kind of  key opens a banana? A: a monkey!
  • Q: Why are bananas never lonely? A: Because they hang around in bunches.
  • Q: How do monkeys get down the stairs? A: They slide down the banana-ster!
  • Q: What did the banana say to the monkey? A: Nothing, bananas can’t talk!

banana pinata by elsie marley

The candy bags were for a banana pinata, of course! And really, the pinata stole the show. The kids helped me make it. It might look super involved, but pinatas are actually super easy and super fun to make. Oh Happy Day has a ton of tutorials on pinatas if you are curious how to make them.

banana pinata diy by elsie marley

Mine is just cardboard and masking tape. Next time I will double the amount of masking tape because the pinata broke before everyone got a whack at it. The kids are getting bigger and stronger. They were too busy frantically gathering candy to be upset, though.

banana birthday party by elsie marley

The birthday boy got a few good hits in and that’s all that matters.

banana birthday party by elsie marley

The party was in the afternoon, so we just put out a few snacks. They were all yellow: yellow peppers, yellow watermelon (which the kids were afraid of, but was actually totally delicious), yellow tomatoes, banana chips, and lemonade.

banana birthday party on elsie marley

Instead of a birthday cake for dessert we had banana splits! There were bananas (of course), three kinds of ice cream, whipped cream, and real cherries for the top. The birthday boy was in heaven!

banana birthday party by elsie marley

And here is the banana birthday party aftermath:

banana birthday party by elsie marley

It was a banana blast!




summer journal: projects

little chairs in rough shape

I bought these little chairs 5 years ago. And wow, they have been through a lot. They were in pretty rough shape…

little chairs in rough shape

…as you can see

recovering in action

Recovering them had been on my list for a very long time. I bought the oil cloth ages ago and then it just sat there, staring at me. Finally I just pulled out my staple gun and went for it!

little chairs all (recovered) in a row

And it was so much easier and faster than I ever imagined. Took me an hour or two tops!

recovered chair

Any projects you are finally crossing off your list this summer?


magic potion kit

magic potion kit

This, my friends, is what my kids did all weekend (and last weekend and the one before). What are they doing? Making magic potions, of course!

magic potion kit

My creative, talented, and lovely friend Helen, and her son, made this amazing Magic Potion Kit.  My son was very lucky to receive it for his birthday. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Previously my son had been making odd mixtures from glue and dirt and soap and whatever else he could scrounge up. Now he had ingredients never before seen to man, replete with pipettes and giant caldron!

magic potion key

The magic potion kit has all the things a 6 year old could want:

  • messy things
  • exploding things
  • yucky things
  • magical things

The magic potion kit also has everything a mother could ever want:

  • non-toxic things
  • easily clean-up-able things
  • cheap and easily replaceable things
  • quiet children engaged in creative play


magic potion kit

1. danger! live slime  2. unicorn tears  3. moth wings and bat claws  4. juicy eyeballs 5. magic potions  6. bat tongues  7. dragon skin  8. ground up vampire bones 9.a great big caldron full of magic!


mixing magic potions

I love how every bit of this gift is handmade, most of it is recycled, and all of it inspires creativity. What more could you want?


the last days of fall

leaf projects

Fall is fading fast here. We had an rainy and sometimes humid autumn, but there were beautiful, cool and crisp days too. There are precious few days of fall left. Here are a few projects from the archives to soak them up:

  1. make a leaf crown
  2. dip fall leaves in wax and put up on the wall with washi tape
  3. why not cross stitch on a pumpkin?
  4. fill your house with the beautiful aroma of brown butter bars

fall projects