Feb 19

Planes, Parties, and Piñatas

by Hannah Holt »


My five-year-old flies around the house at an alarming rate. This is the child who jumped off the back of the couch, glanced off a window, and chipped his tooth on the entryway tile. But nothing keeps him down for long.

He wants to be a pilot when he grows up, so I wasn’t surprised when he requested an airplane party for his birthday.

papermache airplanes

We started with a crash-landing snack (rice krispy airplanes in chocolate pudding cups) because I think he likes crashing almost as much as flying:

IMG_7201Crashlanding Airplane snack

We decorated the room with yellow streamers and origami paper airplanes.

paper airplanes

Of course for one of our activities we made and decorated paper airplanes. [Note: the five-year-olds needed a little help with this, while the seven-year-olds had this skill mastered.]

paper airplanes2

We tested our airplanes for accuracy and distance.

I couldn’t think of a cute way to shape a cake into an airplane and all of the ones I found online looked like too much work. I opted for a sheet cake with an airplane design.

birthday cake

But my most ambitious birthday project the paper-mache airplane piñata. You’ll need to start this project at least three days before the party.

Here’s how we did it…

You’ll need:

  • newspaper (torn into strips)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • a balloon
  • cardboard cut-out wings, tail, and propeller
  • paint
  • tissue paper or a party streamer

 1. In a small bowl, mix the water and flour until there are no lumps. Blow up the balloon, and tie it off.

2. Dip the newspaper strips into the flour paste and then run the newspaper between two fingers to remove the excess glue. Press the wet newspaper onto the balloon. I recommend placing the strips in a variety of directions to improve the strength of the final piñata.


3. Let the balloon dry for one to three days (this will depend on how many layers of paper you apply. The more layers you apply the longer the drying time). I only did one layer, so mine was dry after 24 hours. Even so, one of my children stabbed the piñata with a steak knife after eight hours and the balloon popped. I ended up with a flat bottomed airplane. Not the effect that I was going for but we made it work.


4. Since I already had a hole in my piñata, I filled it with the prizes. (Tip: it’s a good idea to fill your balloon before you decorate it anyway.) I wrapped the gaping hole with painters tape before decorating.

5. We glued a yellow streamer around and around the balloon to create a feathered look.


6. Then we painted the wings and propeller to match the streamers.


After the paint dried, we hot glued the extra accessories to the piñata. Ta da!

paper mache 4


Oct 25


by Hannah Holt »

one comment

Easier than carving pumpkins, these simple bag lanterns will light up your Halloween.

What you’ll need:

  • brown paper bag
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • LED tea light
  • tissue paper (optional)

Step 1: Draw a face on the paper bag. Basic shapes are easier to cut with scissors. (An X-acto knife can make more elaborate designs.)

Step 2: Cut out the shapes of the face.

Step 3 (optional): Cut a rectangle out of the tissue paper and glue it inside the bag (such that all the shapes of the face are covered).

Step 4: Turn on the tea light and place it in the bag.

Detailed Shapes (X-acto knife example)

Lay the bag flat on a table and place a piece of cardboard in the middle. Cut around this pattern…

The cutout will look like this (green paper used to highlight design better)…

Place the tea light in the bag. Ta da!

Dec 26

DIY Electric Guitar Onesies

by Hannah Holt »


Perfect for the expectant mother or little rock star in your life

What you’ll need:

  • white onesie (size 6-12 m)
  • 8.5″x11″ sized iron-on transfer paper
  • pick a pattern Black or Red
  • an ink jet printer

Step 1) Pre-wash and dry the onesie.

Step 2) Download a pattern by clicking Red or Black (400 kB jpeg) and save it to your computer. Then print the pattern onto the transfer paper. (The printed pattern will be a mirror image of the final result. After step 3 the image will be reversed.)

Step 3) Follow the directions included with the transfer paper you selected, but here is the general process:

  • Cut around the pattern on the transfer paper, leaving 1/4 inch margins. Round all corners as sharp edges might peel later.
  • Place the pattern face down onto the onesie. Be sure to smooth any wrinkles.
  • Using a preheated iron (cotton high setting without steam), make small overlapping circles over the pattern. Press hard. The entire process will take a few minutes.
  • Remove the backside of the transfer paper and the pattern will remain.

Rock on!!!

Are you an iron-on maven? Please tell us your tips.

Sep 13

DIY Clay Handprints

by Hannah Holt »


Make your own clay handprint in five simple steps.

Print these directions.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb air-dry clay
  • rolling pin
  • wax paper
  • 6 inch plate or plastic lid
  • butter knife
  • measuring tape
  • sharpened pencil
  • acrylic paint (optional)
  • paint brush (optional)
  • dinner-size paper plate (optional)

Step 1: Place clay on wax paper. Using the rolling pin, flatten the clay until 1/4 inch thick.

Step 2: Using the 6 inch plate as a guide cut a circle into the clay. Remove the excess clay.

(Tip– If you have a six-inch plastic lid or round Tupperware container, you can use the rim as a cutter instead of the knife. This will give you a cleaner edge. Just line the lid with wax paper or you will have trouble getting the clay out.)

Step 3: Smooth the clay’s edge with your fingers, and turn over so that the smoother side is face up.

Step 4: Press your hand into the middle of the clay. Push hard. (Little ones will need help with this.)

Step 5: Have someone help measure your height and engrave this number into the clay using the pencil. Let clay dry for 3 days.

Step 6: (optional activity) After the clay dries, pour acrylic paint onto a paper plate and spread around using the paint brush. Then dip your hand into the paint and press into the clay handprint. (Little ones will also need help with this step to avoid smearing.)

Just for fun… What else could you press into the clay?

Dec 29

My Christmas Project

by Hannah Holt »

Comments Off on My Christmas Project

This year we did a homemade Christmas. I thought it would simplify  the season and make it more meaningful.

It did make the season more meaningful, but simplify…not so much.

I made a personalized fan art for my nieces and nephews.

The first step was easy. I googled high resolution images of their favorite characters, printed these, and copied the scene using tracing paper and pencil.


After the initial sketch I went over all the lines heavily with a #2 pencil.

Then using a family photo, I traced in an additional character (or in this case a new face):


{Here I taped the tracing paper right to my computer screen using masking tape. This made it easy to zoom in and out until the picture was the right size for the picture.}

Once I had all the lines the way I wanted them. I took my tracing and transferred it to 140lb watercolor paper by placing the drawing face down and rubbing the back with pencil.


This makes a light mirror image copy on the new paper:


From there on out it just became a a process of coloring in the lines with watercolors:


Peter pan fan art

So it wasn’t overly difficult, but it was time consuming, especially considering I made five of these this month. But it was fun and it felt good when they finally all went out in the mail.

Happy holidays all!