Sidewalk Paint

crafts, kids, Svara, Talisa

Here is another day when it was time to do a messy activity!  Again this activity I chose to do outside, to allow for easier cleanup.

DIY sidewalk paint cornstarch and food coloring

I mixed together cornstarch with water and added plenty of food coloring for nice bold colors.  Add some spoons and/or big paintbrushes, and it’s time for some colorful fun!






DIY sidewalk paint cornstarch and food coloring

I see they are only using spoons in these photos, I can’t remember why they are not trying paintbrushes.  Maybe the paint was too thin or something.


fun with homemade sidewalk paint

Svara enjoyed mixing the colors and making swirls.  Talisa just enjoyed splattering!


fun with homemade sidewalk paint




Fun with Basil Seeds!


Once in awhile I gather up my energy and courage to do something fun and messy with the girls.  This time we did it outside in the porch so everything could be sprayed away in the end, a smart idea indeed!  I was inspired by this post I saw on pinterest for using basil seeds as a sensory activity for little ones.  I can easily get basil seeds here, so I went for it!

In each of the cups below I added 1T of basil seeds to about a cup colored water.  I waited more than 5 minutes, but they never soaked up all of the water.  Maybe I should have waited longer, or used less water.


Here is a closeup of the seeds after they soaked up the water:






Then it was time to dump!  I used a baby bathtub, it was a good size and easy to contain the mess in!  Svara helped dump the colors:






In went the yellow and green as well:



And finally the red!  Svara couldn’t wait to get her hands in it!



But I had to get a closeup shot first, as I knew it wouldn’t stay this pretty for very long:



A few seconds later, after being stirred a bit, and after Talisa threw the spoons in:




And in less than a minute it was pretty much all stirred together!  I want to try this again with less water, or waiting longer for them to turn more gloppy, so they don’t mix together QUITE as fast.  But even when they were mixed together so the excess water was brown, if you picked up a handful you could still see the individual color of each seed.  it was pretty neat!  I wanted to get some better photos, but I was by  myself with the girls so I couldn’t do a lot with the camera.  Warning, basil seeds on the ground are slippery!!!



After getting messy with the basil seeds the girls had some water time in the little bathtub outside.  Yes, it’s time to invest in another kids’ wading pool! (the last one got holes in it, boo!)



First Sewing Lesson

crafts, Homeschooling, Svara

I mentioned in a post several months ago that I am trying to find craft activities where Svara does the majority of the work and they are learning opportunities for her.  So I decided to start Svara on occasional sewing projects!  I started sewing when I was a few years older than her, but I think she’s old enough to do very simply sewing projects.  We started with making a felt pouch that she could use with her dolls.

I cut a piece of felt and folded it in half.  Then I tied the knot for her and showed her how to make whip stitches.  When I do this next time I’ll use actual thread instead of yarn because it was kind of difficult for her to pull the doubled yarn through the needle hole.  When she was finished, I sewed the handle on for her (she had had enough sewing by then) and she glued on a ribbon and buttons for decoration.

I have a photo of the work-in-progress on my (broken) computer.  I’ll add that when I finally get access to that data.  For now, here is a photo of the finished piece:

svara purse

I enjoy helping her with projects like these where she is actually learning something herself.  Lately she has been begging me for another paper mache project.  I think I said last time that it’d be another year before we did one, but it’s only been six months.  She wants to make a factory for her polly pocket dolls.  She is envisioning using toilet paper rolls as tubes so she can put things through and pretend they are being made.  Sounds cool, but it sounds like a lot of work for me.


Blooming Creativity

crafts, kids, Svara







I haven’t talked about Svara’s creativity lately.  She has always been a very creative child.  Arts and crafts have been at the top of her list of fun things to do for as long as I can remember.  And it’s still that way!

I have to admit that I am often too tired and exhausted to get into crafts.  When she suggests doing an art project I heave a very large sigh.  Sometimes she wants to do projects that are very advanced for her and she ends up watching me doing the whole thing.  She ends up with some cool project/toy, and I end up resentful because I spent all that time working on it when I should have been doing other work.  Not the most positive of experiences.  So I’m trying to find things that either I can make that she can play with (like the cloud dough below) or projects that she can do mostly by herself, with my supervision, and she can actually learn skills from.

So first up is cloud dough!  Playdough has always been one of Svara’s favorite activities.  But sometimes it’s fun to mix things up.  So when I saw cloud dough on pinterest I had to give it a try!  Basically it’s a mixture of 8 parts flour to one part oil.  Most people use baby oil (it probably stays fresh longer that way) but you can also use any vegetable oil.  I used a mix of baby oil that I had a sample bottle of and some canola oil to top it off.  I used 4 cups of flour and 1/2c of oil.  Actually I ended up adding an extra tablespoon or so of oil because it seemed to dry.

Cloud dough is kind of like soft, fluffy sand.  You can pack it together, but then you can easily break it apart as well.  It’s quite unique and fun!  Svara likes to add some little plastic dolls and animals for role playing.  We are keeping the cloud dough in a plastic container in the fridge so that it stays fresh longer.  It also feels nice when she plays with it cold.



Svara’s drawing has taken off exponentially in the past couple of months.  For quite a long time she was drawing only people, and they always looked the same.  Then she’d occasionally add a new item to her repertoire such as a  flower, the sun, a butterfly.  But suddenly a couple months ago she started drawing anything that she wants!  Without seeing how it is drawn, without asking how to draw it, she’ll just think about it for a few seconds and go ahead and draw it.  It’s pretty amazing me to me how she came to this jump in her art abilities without any prompting, urging, etc.  I think it shows that in some respects learning really is internally motivated and things happen at their own times.  Here are a couple of her recent drawings:

She loves drawing ocean scenes.  The stuff on the bottom is seaweed.  The bigger fish is a whale.  She likes writing Svara, Mama, and Papa on her drawings.  And notice how she colors in the empty part of the letters, that is also a new thing she likes to do.




This one is a cow. I must admit I thought the red thing in the front was a milking stool or something.  Turns out it’s actually the cow’s udder.  She is definitely focusing more on detail these days, I’ll just have to point out where the cow’s udder is next time she plays with her plastic animals  hahaha



A cute bunny 🙂


Cardboard Paper Mache Castle

crafts, Svara

There is a type of craft project that I have a love/hate relationship with.  Paper mache!  I like to create play scenes and sets with paper mache because they are very sturdy and end up usually looking more awesome than anything you could buy anyway.  It’s fun to think about it, plan it, and see the end result.  I also don’t mind the actual creating part, EXCEPT that when you have a little one involved with the process it adds a whole new dimension.  That’s where the “hate” part of the relationship comes in.  Because of this I have been doing approximately one paper mache project each year for the past 3 years.  The first one (click here to see it) was a dinosaur playset.  The second was a treehouse and two little playhouses for her small dolls.

A few weeks ago I had the itch to make another project.  Svara has been asking to make a castle on and off for awhile now.  I figured it was about time!  After googling some ideas and combining them with my own ideas I came up with this.  I used a short box for the base and cut out squares for the edges.  I cut the drawbridge out with an exacto knife.  I used the top flaps of the box to create the tower.


Here is a back view.  I cut out a little trap door for the dolls and a secret slide that leads to a door at the base of the tower.



The one thing that made this project easier than I thought possible was a hot glue gun!  I bought one about a year and a half ago and use it to make hairclips for my etsy shop.  But I haven’t really used it for much other than that yet.  I figured this was the perfect opportunity and BOY did it make things easier!  It dries so quickly and holds so strongly that I was able to put it together quickly and Svara was able to immediately play with it.

The thing about having a baby in the house is that it is impossible to do large craft projects all in one day.  So the first day it was just cardboard.  Svara played with it like that for a couple days before we found time to do the paper mache.  I could have just left it like this, but I like the extra sturdiness that paper mache brings to a project and I figured it would make it look more like stone, so I decided to go for it.

I unfortunately chose a day when Naren was not at home.  I had just put Talisa down for a nap in the office and I quickly prepared the supplies.  It took a lot longer than I thought, seeing as it is quite a large castle.  Svara was having fun at first, but soon wanted it to be finished.  I finished it up as quickly as I could, in a panicked state in case Talisa woke up while this huge mess was all over the dining room.  Thankfully she managed to stay asleep until the end (though I did have to wash myself up and give her pacifier back at one point).

Then came another difficult part for Svara – waiting for the paper mache to dry!  It took about a day and a half in a sunny window.  I would have put it outside in the sun, but it’s been rainy lately and there would be a very good chance that I’d put it outside and then forget about it until the middle of a rainstorm.  So a sunny window had to do.

Finally it was dry!  Time for painting!  This took a lot more paint than I estimated as well, so I thinned out the poster paint quite a bit with water.  We covered the whole thing with a light grey paint and then Svara had some fun decorating it.  If it was up to me I would have taken my time and decorated it so it looked like real stones.  But I had to submit, it IS her castle after all.  If she wants splotches of color all over it, then so be it…




I just realized I don’t have a final photo, I’ll have to take one and add it here.  This has become a popular playset in Svara’s room!  She adds some dollhouse furniture, a few plastic animals, and plenty of little dolls to round things out.  Even though it was stressful at times I’m still glad we made it since she is having so much fun with it!   But I’m betting it’ll be at least another year before I break out the paper mache once again.


Art Project – Butterflies

crafts, family, Svara

Art projects are still one of Svara’s favorite activities, here is one we did recently after reading The Hungry Caterpillar:

Take a piece of paper, fold it in half, and paint on it.  I usually use homemade flour based paint, but it doesn’t age well and I wanted to keep these, so I added food coloring to white glue.  A bit messy, but it had a nice finish on the paper when it was dry!


When finished painting, open up the paper and fold it in half again, paper to paint:


Press firmly all over the paper, and then open up!


Lay out on the table to dry:


When dry, fold in half and cut in the shape of half of a butterfly.  Open up and you have a beautiful butterfly!  I’d love to have a photo of a finished butterfly for you, but when clearing the table for dinner I put the papers in such a safe place that I have not been able to find them since.  Looks like we’ll be saving the butterfly cutting to another day…


Although Svara LOVES doing art projects including painting, cutting, and gluing, she has not been very fond of coloring.  However, a couple days ago she finally sat down and colored with me and carefully colored piglet in a coloring book:

I love how she was truly concentrating on her coloring, and she did an awesome job!  Now if I can just get her to use crayons or thinner markers  instead of a bulky highlighter that makes her hand hurt after a few minutes….   “But Mama, the colored pencil is not dark enough, I need this marker.”

Craft Sale

crafts, family, out and about, Svara, work

Last month I sold my paper quilling crafts (mostly jewelry) in my first craft market!  It was a busy two weeks preparing stock for the sale.  Naren and Svara were there for a couple hours helping me get set up, etc.  Then they left and picked me up when the day was over.  No way could Svara handle being there the whole day!  But she did have fun while she was there.  Here are a few pics:

Of course she had to bring a baby with her 🙂

Svara has grown to be sensitive to noises, especially if she’s in a place she doesn’t know.  There was some construction going on at the shopping complex where the craft sale was, and Naren caught a photo of her right when she heard a loud noise:

Much to Svara’s delight there was a ramp nearby.  She’s been fascinated with ramps from the moment she could walk!

It was fun to be at the craft sale and I hope to participate in a few more in the coming year, it always feels great to share my crafts that I enjoy so much!

Time to Get Messy

crafts, family, Svara

Svara loves doing art projects.  She also loves playing with her small toy dinosaurs and other animals, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to recycle some materials around the house, do a fun art project, and make a playset for her plastic dinosaurs.

I started by using some toilet paper tubes to create a rock, some trees, and a cave.  Svara was already having fun playing with it!

Then it was time to add the paper mache!  Svara wasn’t too sure about it at first, but then she got into it and had some fun:

After letting it dry in the sun for a day and a half it was ready to paint.  After the paint dried I added a clear coat of sealant, some paper leaves, and it was ready to play with!  Oh, for the lake I used white glue mixed with blue food coloring.  Took a day for that to dry as well, but it’s a great look!  Svara loves this playset and uses her dinosaurs and other plastic animals on it.  And it’s certainly better than anything we could have bought!

So Long!

crafts, family

Wow, it’s been almost three months since I’ve updated this blog!  It seems as though the longer I go without updating, the easier it is to postpone.

I’ll put a real update soon.  But in the meantime, here’s a recent photo of Svara having fun doing an art project with her cousin, Iyshanie.  Svara adores her!  I think Iyshanie wasn’t too pleased that Svara started “helping” her with the stickers on her picture, but she is loving and patient with her!

New Things

crafts, Svara

Svara loves doing new things and trying new things (well, except for foods).

Here is her first sewing project:

This is a crocheted bunny puppet I made for her long ago.  The strings from her beading set work wonderfully for “sewing” it up!

And here she is doing her first science experiment:

Did you know that if you add dishsoap to vinegar before putting in the baking soda it froths up much more slowly and doesn’t deflate so fast?  I didn’t know either!  We had to do this experiment multiple times in different colors of course.