Posted in Craft Corner

Summer Kid Craft- Paper Sack Nature Journals

This month I’ve been holding weekly two hour craft sessions in my beach themed crafting room with several neighbor girls. I hold a morning session and an afternoon session because I have as many as 14 girls showing up to craft and my table comfortably seats 10.

This was my favorite journal cover.

So far we’ve painted kindness rocks and miniature crates. This week the girls decorated their own summer nature journals. This is a great example of how easy and inexpensive kid crafts can be. I have done elaborate kid crafts before, such as fairy gardens (I’ll have to post on that another day), but this craft reminded me how simplicity can be golden. I honestly think this has been my favorite craft yet with “my” girls. 🙂

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There are only four main supplies needed for paper sack journals: lunch sacks, blank paper (such as copy paper), something to bind the two together (we’ll get to that in a minute), and coloring tools, such as markers, colored pencils, and/or crayons.

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I also supplied a few nature-themed stamps I had on hand, black ink pads, some nature-themed stencils, and washi tape (some of the girls used washi tape to cover the staples and give a book a bound look).

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I did not take pictures of the assembly, which my daughter and I did beforehand (to save time). For each journal we simply folded a lunch sack in half. That made the cover. We then folded two 8.5 x 11″ sheets of paper in half length-wise, and then into fourths. We cut along the longest folds, leaving the short folds in-tack. That gave each journal eight blank pages. We cut the edges with scallop scissors, centered them inside the sack and then stapled it together.


Another option for binding would be using a hole punch and then threading ribbon or yarn through it. By the way, eight pages, with one paper sack, proved to be just enough for our stapler to handle.

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Here’s an example with the washi tape. The dragon fly was made with a stencil, water color pencils and sequins.

My sketch of a Lilly

After the girls decorated their journal covers, inside and out, I sent them outside for a nature hunt. We made up our own nature hunt and chose descriptive words such as soft, hard, smooth, bumpy, fast, slow, high, low, red, exquisite, etc. The girls found items to fit each category and some wrote them in their journals, while others chose one item to observe and sketch. We then discussed some of the items they found.  I suggested that the girls write the date on their journal page.

♥ Have you ever made a paper sack journal? My daughter told me that for some of her girls camps, they were given paper sack journals to record their camp experiences. So this could be something your kids make up before a family vacation. And it’s so simple! ♥

Posted in Craft Corner

Summer Kid Craft- Rock Painting

For the month of June this summer I’m hosting weekly mini craft parties, as I call them, for some of my young neighbor girls. Our first craft was today and the girls painted rocks. I wanted their focus to be on Kindness Rocks. The main idea of kindness rocks is to spread cheer and sunshine through thoughtfully painted rocks. These rocks are painted brightly and often contain a positive affirmation or just one powerful word. And then they are placed around the community- in public places- for anyone to stumble upon. I also told the girls they could paint a rock with a specific person in mind.

Some of the girls snuck a kindness rock into my fairy garden. 🙂

For this craft I gathered clean rocks with a fairly smooth surface on one side, acrylic paints in assorted colors, paint markers for writing (optional), paint brushes in assorted sizes, and a clear sealer to help make the rocks weather resistant. I bought Krylon DIY sealer at Hobby Lobby.


I first prepared my craft room table by covering it with a plastic tablecloth and had paper plates (for the paint) and baby wipes on hand. The girls used sponge brushes for the base paint and smaller brushes for the detailing. I had four colors of fine tip paint markers for them to use- gold, silver, white, and black. I bought these at Hobby Lobby also.


Some like to paint the whole rock, but I think it looks great just to paint one side of a rock and leave the sides and bottom natural.



When the rocks were finished, I sprayed them with the sealer (outside) and then we hopped in my car and drove a little ways to a nature park in our neighborhood. The girls placed some rocks in random spots there, and then we drove to a woman’s home and the girls placed rocks on her porch. This woman is battling cancer and she is a member of our church congregation. The girls thought of her because she had been a leader/teacher to them before she got sick.


♥ Have you ever made kindness rocks? Do you and your children like to craft together in the summer? ♥

Posted in Craft Corner

Tulip Garden Craft

On Saturday, my daughter, Darcie, and I hosted a little girl spring craft party with 14 girls from our neighborhood. Our original group consists of nine girls, but often we end up with someone’s cousin or neighbor, making ten. This time, we ended up with one cousin and four neighbors (three which are sisters). It meant an extra shopping trip, but with Darcie’s help, we managed to keep the group contained to my craft room, kitchen and living room. We simply set a few rules and divided the girls into two teams. They even gave their teams a name: “Blue Penguins” and “Camie’s Awesome Owls”, which I was not expecting. 🙂

Darcie and I set up three craft stations- tulip gardens were made at my craft table; sugar scrubs were made at the kitchen table; and stamping cards and paper sacks took place at the kitchen island. This way, when a girl finished her scrub or tulip garden before the others, she was allowed to stamp and color a card and a paper sack (as a gift bag for the sugar scrub) where she was out of the way and still busy. We also set up an extra table for the girls to keep their crafts once they were finished. We taped a sheet of paper with their names on them to the table.


Inspired by the tulips growing in my yard which I planted last fall, I came up with a tulip garden craft which was fairly easy and turned out wonderfully.


For this craft, I chose the following supplies-

  • Clear, plastic bowls, labeled “garden bowls”, from the craft section of Dollar Tree
  • Floral Styrofoam disks, also from Dollar Tree (2 per package)
  • Brown or green paint, and sponge brush, to paint the disks to look like dirt or grass
  • Craft moss, from Dollar Tree or a craft store
  • 4″ x 6″ foam sheets, from Dollar Tree and Walmart (32 sheets per package in assorted colors)
  • Green or green patterned paper straws, from Michael’s and Hobby Lobby (in the paper/craft and party sections)
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks (I found the high-temp gun worked better than the low-temp)
  • Elmer’s Craft Bond glue (I love this brand of craft glue)
  • Cotton balls, as filler (optional)
  • River rocks or glass rocks, from Dollar Tree or a craft store (or from outside)
  • Craft thread, from Dollar Tree or a craft store, and a large sewing needle (optional)
  • Stickers or washi tape (optional) to decorate the outside of the bowls


I did do some prep work beforehand for a group this size. Otherwise, I would’ve involved the child in each step, supervising the hot glue of course:

  • I cut the straws in half because I felt this was the perfect stem size
  • I painted the foam disks brown to resemble dirt (allow time to dry)
  • I hot-glued the painted disks to the bottom of the bowls
  • I made a tulip template out of cardstock and used it to cut several tulips out of various colors of foam (but I left plenty of uncut foam for girls to make their own designs)


Most of the girls chose to decorate the outsides of their bowls first with washi tape. I tried to get them to apply the tape in small pieces, but they thought it was more fun to roll out long lengths at a time, haha. They turned out adorable even if the tape didn’t go on evenly due to the shape of the bowl. 😀


For every tulip, each girl either cut her own tulip design out of the foam or used my pre-cut ones, or a combination of both. Each basic tulip took two matching parts, one for the front and the other for the back, with the straw-stem glued in between. Then the front was glued to the back, with a little cotton fluff as filler, if desired.


Some of the girls chose to create their own, more intricate design, and some girls were up to stitching their flowers with craft thread, which was great sewing practice. I overheard one girl ask, “Why don’t we just use a sewing machine?” 😛


I supervised the girls with the needles and hot glue gun, of course. I ended up helping several tie their ends and I tried to show them two different ways to stitch. Once the tulips were finished, the girls placed them in the Styrofoam disks and glued down moss and river/glass rocks as desired. One girl made a caterpillar and rock totem.


We could’ve added foam leaves, but I didn’t think of that in my prep work and I kind of like the simplicity of the stems alone. The important thing is that what I gave the girls to do sparked their creativity, which is the goal. I’ve heard it said that art is more open-ended than craft projects, but I disagree. I think crafts can be open-ended, too!


♥ If you or your child makes this craft, I’d love to see it. Thanks for visiting my blog, and Happy Spring! ♥