Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day Tool Box

Father's Day is not far away. Before we know it June 16th will be creeping up on us and so here is another idea for Father's Day. This is a tool box made out of a cardboard box and a ton of creativity. I didn't have a pattern. I used my imagination. There were plenty of mistakes along the way but I really am pleased with the finished product.
Materials Needed:
  • glue Gun
  • glue sticks
  • old Cardboard boxes
  • craft glue
  • utility knife
  • poster board
  • wrapping paper
  • wide clear tape
  • brads
I don't have instructions but it's pretty simple. It's all rectangles and you just glue it together.




Monday, May 27, 2013

DIY Non-Toxic Paint

Kids love to paint and be creative. Here's a non-toxic natural paint recipe that you can make for your children.

Here's what you will need:
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 c water
  • food coloring
  • empty squirt bottles
Mix well and add to each bottle. After you add to each bottle add the food coloring and shake well.

Found on Pinterest

Books related to our project--

Mr. Pickles Paints the Town

Peter Pickles went to bed one night and woke up to find things had changed. The sky was not blue. The birds were gone too. The world had been rearranged. All the colors had disappeared. What could Mr. Pickles do?
Gr 3-6-An emphasis on technique distinguishes this bright and colorful series. Twelve attractive projects per volume, many of them resulting in useful objects, give kids a chance to learn and practice techniques such as weaving, stenciling, and frottage. Specialized materials are not required, and most kids will be able to achieve success with the majority of these projects, regardless of their level of artistic talent. The books were written by art teachers and it shows. Tracing and collage are offered as alternatives to drawing, and many drawing and painting projects are abstract or begin with random shapes. The trickiest skills are the various stitches used in Make It!, and, unfortunately, the instructions, which are usually quite good in this series, are not quite up to this task. Photographs often show the finished projects while drawings illustrate the process

Sunday, May 26, 2013

DIY Cat Bed

I love this simple idea and can't wait to imply it to make my Millie a new cat bed. There really isn't much to it,this is what you will need:

  • A wicker basket
  • Foam
  • Piece of material or an old blanket
  • Nails and hooks to secure basket on wall

You have to measure your basket and then measure and cut foam (length and width) accordingly. I plan to use an old piece of fleece blanket to cover the foam rubber. I have plenty of fleece blanket's that have holes in them or have stains that I can make use of and I'm sure Milley will enjoy the softness of the fleece. You can sew by hand but I plan to sew mine on the sewing machine so that it looks more professional. I plan to hang this in my daughter's room and I might make one one for the upstairs.

Books related to our project:
Chester's Back!

In this uproarious sequel to Chester, the battle of the picture-book makers continues. Which author-illustrator will come out on top -- Chester or M?lanie Watt -- is anybody's guess! This time, there's no denying (in Chester's mind) that he's the star of the show. His already outsize ego has ballooned even more due to a spate of "fan mail" on the heels of his self-titled debut. As Chester sees it, who needs Melanie Watt when they have Chester? He's got no shortage of his own storytelling ideas. With heavy paw and red marker, this control-freak cat does not hesitate to commit them to paper. When Chester starts acting far too Hollywood, Melanie calls an open audition to replace the high-maintenance feline. This isn't a move that Chester will take lying down. Get ready for a seesaw comedy of dueling author-illustrators. Who will come out on top is anybody's guess! Available on amazon
Kitten's Summer
A beautifully illustrated picture book introducing toddlers to animals in the farmyard and the woods on a rainy summer day. It's a rainy summer day, and Kitten is meeting all sorts of animals taking shelter from or enjoying the warm rain, including a fox, a turtle, a beaver and many more. As in the two previous titles in the Kitten series, rhyming couplets capture the animals' actions, making this book another fantastic interactive read-aloud. Young readers will delight in discovering animal habitats, picking out seasonal details in the exquisite mixed-media art, and searching for and finding Kitten on every page. Available on amazon

Saturday, May 25, 2013

DIY Ice Chalk

Summer Time is almost here and what a nice way to chill and cool off with some ice cube chalk! I bet the kids would love this craft. My daughter always used to love drawing on the sidewalk on out in the street. (We lived on a dead end so I usually sat outside and supervised the kids to make sure they were safe.)

You can the directions on Reading Confetti 

Found on Pinterest

Books related to our topic--


A rainy day. Three kids in a park. A dinosaur spring rider. A bag of chalk. The kids begin to draw. . . and then . . . magic! The children draw the sun, butterflies, and a dinosaur that amazingly come to life. Children will never feel the same about the playground after they experience this astounding wordless picture book and the power of the imagination. Bill Thomson embraced traditional painting techniques and meticulously painted each illustration by hand, using acrylic paint and colored pencils.
Available on amazon

The Chalk Box Kid (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))
Random House is proud to present the tenth anniversary edition of a book Publishers Weekly called "a gem of a book...a story that goes straight to the heart." When nine-year-old Gregory experiences several upsets in his life, he responds by creating a fantastic chalk garden on the charred walls of a burned-out factory behind his house. As his garden grows and flourishes, Gregory finds a voice through his art and, for the first time, is able to find his own place in the world. The Chalk Box Kid is sure to delight a new generation of children and their parents.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Vacation/Road Trip Ideas

June is coming fast and it won't be long before school will be out for the summer. Parents will be thinking about summer vacations and possibly taking a road trip with the little ones.

It can be quite challenging with all the kids, sometimes a friend or two and even Fido thrown in the car too. The bond,the closeness if you know what I mean....just gets to be a little too much. Gosh,I remember those days!

Then the kids start with the "are we there yet"??? Or Jimmy is looking at me and then there is Katie's shoe is touching my leg. Sound familiar??? haha...

So...why not organize yourself ahead of time and arm yourself with some games, snacks and things to do that keep the kids busy so they don't have time to fight.

My favorite was the BUSY BOX created by Wendy (Utah's Crafty Chick)

Another one I really think is a cool idea----
If you are crafty enough you can even make you own tic tac toe board on the computer or on card stock and laminate it onto a magnetic strip then do the same with some disk or glass rocks from the dollar store. They just have to fit into the scale of the Altoids box. Add some magnet to the backs and voila! you are good to go. You don't have to buy a bunch of stuff just be artistic and use your imagination. Here is the link for this one however.

Here are some ideas to get you started---

Printable from Momsminivan

Classic Road Trip Games from Disney

10 Noise Free Car Games

Kids World Car Games

Pinterests Road Trip Tips

Books related to our topic---
Road Trip
Dad and Ben haven't been getting along recently and Dad hopes a road trip to rescue a border collie will help them reconnect. But Ben is on to Dad's plan and invites Ben's thuggish buddy, Theo. The family dog, Atticus, comes along too and the story is told by Ben and Atticus. When their truck breaks down, they commandeer an old school bus, along with its mechanic, Gus. Next, they pick up Mia, a waitress escaping a tense situation. Only sharp-eyed Atticus realizes that Theo is on the run—and someone is following them.
Available on amazon

Amelia Bedelia Chapter Book #3: Amelia Bedelia Road Trip!
Amelia Bedelia, America's favorite housekeeper, had a childhood full of surprises, mischief, and hilarious misunderstandings. In this illustrated chapter book adventure, just right for fans of Judy Moody and Ivy + Bean, young Amelia Bedelia piles into the family car and takes a road trip with her family. This is the third book in the Amelia Bedelia chapter book series and is just right for newly independent readers ready for a more challenging vocabulary and books with chapters.
Have a safe and fun summer from ever here at Fran and Friends!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jello Pudding Pop

From Pinterest
1 1/2C MILK 


Books related to project---

I Scream! Ice Cream!: A Book of Wordles

What do "I Scream!" and "Ice Cream!" have in common? Nothing—besides the fact that they sound the same! The ever-surprising Amy Krouse Rosenthal unleashes her prolific wit in this silly and smart book of wordplay. Perfectly complemented by equally clever illustrations from the talented and internationally renowned Serge Bloch, this mind-bending book will have young readers thinking about words in an entirely new way! Available on amazon
I Am An Ice Cream Truck
A board book shaped like an ice cream truck with a sound chip that plays a familiar ice cream tune!
I am an ice cream truck.
I have lots of cold, sweet treats!
Press play and watch all the kids line up when they hear the popular ice cream truck jingle in this fun and sturdy board book shaped like an ice cream truck with sound! Read along and go inside the ice cream truck to see where all the different kinds of ice cream and other frozen treats are stored! Everyone with a sweet tooth will love seeing this big machine in action. It's a book and a toy in one! Available on amazon

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More Father's Day Ideas

Many of you know I'm a huge fan of pinterest and it's my "go to spot" for ideas. They have a huge selection of ideas for father's day ideas so I'm just going to add all kinds of links on this page for ideas and I hope you all find them helpful. I don't have any small children any more but the ideas are just adorable whether you use them for a dad or a grandpa (which is usually what I used them for since my daughter's Dad was absent.)

Pinterest Father's Craft Ideas for Kids

Parent's Mag Father's Day Easy Craft Ideas

Spoonful Craft Ideas for Dad's

Kaboose Craft Dad Ideas

Enchanted Learning Dad Craft Ideas

The Crafty Crow Dad Ideas

Martha Stewart Father's Day Craft Ideas

Books related to our topic

Saturday with Daddy
A young elephant and his Daddy spend Saturday running errands, sipping lemonade, and having a cookout. The charming art and simple story make this a perfect summertime book for fathers and their preschoolers.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Felting is a craft that is pretty new to me but it's been around for a long,long time. The definition for felting is an ancient tradition of creating a strong and sturdy, non-woven fabric from wool.

I found this neat beginner project for my daughter at Michael's for $5.00. and she's been working on it. She's been doing pretty good on it too. But today I ran across a video from Rice and she is also a first time felter (and she's hysterical!) I loved her video and plan to try doing what she did with the sweater. I think it's adorable and makes such a cute present for any age group.

Hope you will check out her video because it is definitely worth watching. I'm going to add the link HERE just in case there is a problem with the video.

This is my daughter's partridge she was working so hard on. It was looking a bit obscene in the picture. I don't have the finished product yet as she is still hard at work trying to complete the project . With felting the more you needle the project the denser the project gets. So the bird is now about half the size as what shown in these photo's. The form has also begun to take shape as well and last night she added the beak.



Monday, May 20, 2013

Crafts Made From Old LIds

Ever wonder what you could do with all those old lids? Check out some of these neat ideas. How about gluing A,B,C letters on them and playing word games or possibly adding some cardboard behind them and then gluing magnets to the cardboard this way you can use them on a magnetic surface.
On the other hand how about using lids on a science project. The disk make great ideas for a space project.

 How about some silly monsters for Halloween?? Aren't they funny. They are really so cute.

And my favorite these adorable ladybugs. They could be used for possibly a children's game or for a Grandma's garden,whatever the choice the key again is to have a fun. That's what it is all about here at Fran and Friends.


Books related to our project:


Lift the Lid, Use the Potty!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Get Buggy

I don't know a boy (and some girls!) who doesn't like to collect bugs. When I was a kid I used to like to go outside and collect either lightning bugs, catepillars or ants.

Whichever bug it was I'd make their home accordingly. The most fascinating of course was the catepillars because eventually they would make a cocoon, turn into some type of brown moth, and fly away.

The ants were cool too with all the ant hills and mazes they would make. Watching them carry their food that sometimes looked bigger than they were and wondering how they did it. The world of bugs is fascinating and it's definitely a learning experience.

Click here to learn about those noisy crickets you hear in your back yard every night while trying to sleep. In addition, here is a fascinating website about bugs and crickets. They have some fascinating tidbits of information.

 One thing I found out today was this--did you know a cricket has no backbone? Now you will need your math skills for this next one--- did you know that if you listen to a cricket chirp for 15 seconds and count the amount of chirps it makes then add 37 to that number that that's what the temperature will be the next day. Interesting fact huh? I thought that was pretty cool.

 Here are some cool ideas for kids to make:





Books related to our project:
                                The Pink Cricket
Most crickets are green and play the violin, but not this cricket. He's pink and loves the drums, two things that all the other crickets make fun of him for. But he doesn't give up, follows his dreams, and really shows them what a pink cricket drummer is made of!
Available on amazon

Ladybug Girl and Her Mama
Ladybug Girl loves her mama, and can't wait to spend the day with her. They plant flowers in the garden, share a special lunch, and enjoy a favorite movie. Together-time has never been so sweet. This simple story celebrates the special bond between moms and daughters, perfect for the youngest readers.
Available on amazon

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Initially Speaking

Wherever you go now a day you see these huge alphabet letters in the craft aisles at places like Walmart, AC Moore and other big name craft shops.

 You can do many things with these giant letters. You can add fabric like the one you see here on your right. Then you can add some type of trim that you can get at any craft or fabric store. This would be one option.

On the other hand, another thing you might try is cover the letter in glitter. You can buy glitter almost anywhere. My favorite is the Martha Stewart brand. She has fine glitter and they are so colorful too. Let your imagination run wild. Think of a chameleon and do it in stripes or maybe polka dots.


You could decorate a letter with colorful buttons, or maybe with mosaic squares. Alternatively, even with photographs as you see in this photograph to the right. Yes,...there's many fun and innovative ways you can decorate these letter.

The key is just to have fun and use your imagination!

Books related to our project:

Alphabet Fun Children's Rhyming Picture Book Alphabet Fun rhyming book is filled with creative pages that are meant to be silly and have your children wanting to read it over and over again. The book uses colorful pictures that makes it fun to learn their ABC's and all the letters in the alphabet. Available on amazon

ABC Come Play With Me: A Picture Alphabet Book for Young Children

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ideas for Daddy

Father's Day is coming up in June and I just wanted to pass along some ideas that you can make for Dad.
The frame on the left is really woodsy and cute. You can go on a hunt outside for twigs and maybe take a little picnic when you do. This first project is called RUSTIC FRAME and you can find the directions here.


The next project may need some help from a grandpa,uncle or a crafty Mom. I think this idea is really cool and Dad's would love this I'm sure,I know I want one!! It's called a DIY TAPE DISPENSER and here's the directions. Dad would really love the organization and be glad to find tape when he needs it,(trust me Mom will too!)

For our little crafter's how about a HAND PRINT for Daddy?? What a treasured keepsake that would be. It's easy to do and here's what you will need:

LITTLE HAND PRINT*1 cup of salt
*1 cup of flour
*½ cup of water
*measuring cup

For further directions click HERE


Pretty much self explanatory. Just cover some old cans with paper that you decorated. It best to decorate and cover with clear adhesive or some type of contact paper before putting it on the can. Dad would be proud to display his pencils in this cool can.
 Books related to this project---

Because I'm Your Dad Because I'm your dad, you can have spaghetti for breakfast, French toast for dinner, and rocky road ice cream in the bathtub.
In a text that's both playful and loving, a father expresses his hopes and dreams for a one-of-a-kind relationship with his child. Whimsical monster characters bring the silly and sweet scenes to life and keep the book universal. The book's ending, a moving tribute to the author's father, guarantees intergenerational appeal.

My Dad Thinks He's Funny
When his son says "I’m hungry," Dad says, "Hello, Hungry. Pleased to meet you." Before slicing a cake for dessert, Dad announces, "There’s my piece. What’s everybody else having?" Tell Dad your foot hurts? "No problem. You’ve got another." How is he feeling? "With my hands." So when nothing’s up but the sky, or when jumping in the shower sounds dangerous, it may be a good time to share this book with someone who doesn’t need sugar because, well, they’re sweet enough already.
Available on amazon



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Painted Sneaker Craft

What a cool way to update some old sneakers or a pair of cheap ones.You could be very creative and draw polka dots,maybe some cartoon characters,or chevrons as you see here on the photo to the right.

Here is the link for directions on how to do this cool project.

Here are some other ideas to decorate your shoes. Make sure you spray your shoes with a Scotch guard water proof repellent after you paint them with the fabric paints or waterproof markers.



Books related to our project:
 There's a Spider in My Shoe!                           Ew! There's a spider in my shoe! There are many things I don't like, but spiders are the worst! Oh, it's not because of their many fuzzy legs or their creepy crawly smiles. No, no. The reason that spiders are the worst is because... Available on amazon

Tallulah's Toe Shoes
Tallulah is back in ballet class and now she wants to go en pointe—to dance up on the tips of her toes in pink satin toe shoes, like a real ballerina. But going en pointe is not good for growing feet, and her ballet teacher says her feet aren't ready yet. Oh, yes, they are, Tallulah thinks. And so am I. Not only is she ready, she's determined. And nothing stops Tallulah when her mind is made up! Available on amazon



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Totem Pole

Do you have daycare or a summer program ? Maybe a birthday party?? Summer camp or vacation bible school? about cowboys and Indian theme party?? Here is a totem pole using recycled objects from around the house.

Here's what you will need for the totem on the right--for directions click HERE
  • Plastic Milk Cartons and Coffee containers  (* Do not use plastic soda or juice containers as the plastic is too hard to cut through to insert the pole.)
  • Gesso paint
  • Acrylic paints/ brushes
  • Old broom pole or PVC pipe
  • Plastic place mat ($1 from Dollar stores)
  • Sharp knife - for adult use only

For this totem pole find instructions HERE

Books related to our project --
North American Indian Crafts
Informative, carefully researched coloring book depicts, in 39 detailed illustrations, native North Americans engaged in a host of arts and crafts: drum-making, carving totem poles, face and body painting, building a dugout canoe, making and painting ceramic pots, weaving rugs and blankets, preparing hides, more. Descriptive captions.

Cowboy Up!: Ride the Navajo Rodeo
It's morning at the rodeo. Riders are standing by. Horses are in the chutes. "Cowboy up!" the announcer calls. Then the excitement begins In this riveting collection, narrative poems give voice to the individual competitors, lively prose explains rodeo events, and evocative photographs show off the riders and ropers, the horses, bulls, and broncs. It all adds up to an unforgettable close-up view of Navajo
rodeo over the course of one action-packed day.