Dollar Store Easter Mantel

Easter decorating ideas, budget decorating

 

I finally got my mantel decorated for Easter.  I decorated it with Dollar Store items. It’s nothing spectacular, but it feels like spring and the kids love the eggs and bunny.  To them that means Easter Bunny will be hoping down the bunny trail soon. Colored eggs, marshmallow peeps, baby chicks, chocolate bunnies, egg hunts and a family feast are forthcoming.  Excitement is in the air.

 

Easter budget decorating, spring decoratiing ideas Dollar Store decorating ideas

 

I made the wreath from Dollar Store Items last year.  You can check out My Frugal Easter Wreath here.  Additionally, I purchased the small buckets and plastic eggs from the Dollar Store.  The Spring sign is from Target’s bargain bins.  I actually purchased the buckets to house my herb plants this summer, however, I didn’t see the point of them just sitting around until summer.  I loved the color, and they matched the Spring sign from Target.

Also, I had planned to paint the sign white, but decided to leave everything as it was and use the painted white branches in the orange buckets to offset some of the bright colors. The branches had been used in my winter mantel scene previously.

 

frugal decorating, Easter decorating, Easter wreath ideas

 

Now to put everything together. I thought I would keep the Easter egg theme going in the wreath.  So, I decided to use the branches for egg trees.  Furthermore,  I also reuse the decorative grass from year to year.  When Easter is over, I just scoop it up and put it in a grocery bag to store.  I placed a layer over the mantel. Than I placed the Dollar Store gravel that I had used for another project in the pails and arranged the branches.  They were perfect for making the egg trees.

 

Easter egg trees, egg trees

 

I used ribbon to hang the eggs on the branches/twigs. I have yards of ribbon stored away to hang the eggs. You can use twine, yard or whatever you have on hand. I cut pieces about 6 inches long and hot glued them onto the eggs. Make sure you’re happy with the length, you will bending it in half to glue onto the egg. Glue one end to the egg and than glue the other end to the piece on the egg. Note: I tried using craft glue, it didn’t work very well.  I love my hot glue gun. The scattered flowers fall off a wreath.  Rather than gun them back on, I saved them with good intentions. Glad I did, because they make a great accent to the spring mantel.

 

Easter Bunny, Easter decorating ideas

 

I picked up this adorable bunny at Michael’s for 50% off.  Bargains at 70% off are usually what I wait for, but they only had one so I grabbed it.  Isn’t it adorable?  I plan to fill the bucket, a Goodwill find for $1.25, with bunny treats. Stay tuned for that post.  What are some of your favorite Easter decorating items?

 

 

 

Snowman Preschool Math Game

 

preschool math activity sheet

 

This week we have a preschool math snowman game that will help your preschooler count from 1 –  20.  Today we’re counting the buttons on the snowmen.  You will need:

  • black and white construction paper or cardstock
  • black marker or pen
  • scissors
  • pencil for tracing
  • orange marker

I found it easier to make a sample snowman and top hat to trace and cut around.  However, construction paper from the dollar store can be used for the snowman or printer paper.  Anyway, I folded a sheet of construction paper in half and than folded it again. I placed the sample snowman on top of the folded sheet and cut around it.  I was able to create 4 snowmen at once using this method. 

Additionally, it was easier to use the cardstock for the top hat and cut out each one individually.  You will need a circle for each hat so you can write the number on it.  It was easier to just cut out the small circles for the hat individually.  Afterwards, glue the circle on the hat and than allow it to dry before writing the number on the hat. 

Next, while the glue is drying, make the faces and draw the buttons on the body of the snowmen from 1 -10 or 1 – 20, depending on how many you wish to make.  My 9 year old grandson helped draw the faces and make the buttons on each snowman. Once the bodies are made, write the numbers on the hats.

preschool games, numbers games for preschoolers, winter activites, winter games

 

Image-Snowman-Counting-Game-6-10

 

Finally, teaching your child to count using this snowman preschool math game is not only educational, it will be fun.  Making education fun should be the goal. The goal is to count the buttons and than match the hat to the coordinating snowman.  If you have an older child like my 9 year old, let them count with your preschooler or kindergarten.  It’s a great way to teach them to count without getting bored. Stayed turned to our next snowman game.  You may also like Kid’s Donut Snowman Snacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Make a Grapevine Wreath Snowman

winter crafts, snowman crafts, grapevine wreaths

 

I love crafts, and when you’re buried under 3 feet of snow they sure keep you from going insane.  This grapevine wreath snowman was put together in about 30 minutes during our latest blizzard.  I know the storm was heading our way, so I headed to one of my favorite places for bargains, The Goodwill.  I purchased the 2 grapevine wreaths, mittens, matching hat and scarf for $5.59.  Afterwards, I headed to Michaels and nabbed the letter for $1.50 from the Bargain Ben.  It was the perfect size and blended well with the accessories. Score!

You will need:

  • 2 or 3 grapevine wreaths small to large (Check thrifts for bargains.  Michaels is a good resource too. Print your 40% off coupon.)
  • accessories (Dollar General or Family Dollar are good inexpensive resources too.)
  • Letter (Optional)
  • craft wire

Here’s the steps for making the snowman:

The grapevine wreaths that I used are the same size.  For $2.00, I decided that I would make it work. I laid the wreath on newspaper before working. Grapevine wreaths are known to drop leaves and small pieces. I connected the 2 wreaths with the craft wire.  I wrapped the wire around the two wreaths tightly to ensure they fit together nicely.  Before taking any additional steps, I also added wire to the top so I could hang it.  This is important.

I opted not to hot glue the mittens and hat to the wreath because the set is in excellent shape.   So, I’ll donate them back to the Goodwill undamaged.  Instead of using hot glue, I placed a piece of the thin craft wire carefully through the tops of each of the mittens.  Next, I wrapped the ends of the wire that I threaded through the mittens around the wreath one at a time.  Allow the top mitten to cover the wire from the second mitten.

Fortunately, the letter had a ribbon at the top.  As a result, I cut it and tied it to the wreath so it would hide the craft wire on the top mitten.  Next I tied the scarf around the section where the two wreaths meet. This scarf is silk, I plan to wear it in the summer and fall.  You can use a wool scarf as well.

Adding the hat was tricky.  I opened the hat and placed it over the wreath as best I could.  Once I had the hat in place, I sprayed it with spray starch to help stiffen it so it would keep its shape.  I allowed it to dry and sprayed it again and again.  Once the hat was dry and stiff, I hung the wreath and added the twig arms.

Finally, you can make a cardboard top hat if this type proofs to be difficult and glue it to the wreath.  Paint the cardboard hat either black or red and allow it to dry before placing it on the snowman. I love it, how about you.

17 Winter Snowman Craft Ideas For Kids

winter crafts for kids, snowman crafts, kids snowman crafts

Image-Kids-Winter-Crafts-Roundup2

 

Soon snow will be falling and we all know what that means.  School closures for days and kids who will be stuck in the house.  But, don’t fret.  We did a round up that will help make those snow days less hectic.  Most importantly, these crafts don’t require electronics.

So, I love snowmen.  As a result, I gathered a variety of crafts that feature snow and/or snowmen.  Most use items that moms have around the house or they can purchase from the dollar store.  Here’s my snowman craft ideas for kids roundup:

  1.  Footprint Snowman from My Life of Travel and Adventures
  2. Craft Sticks Snowman from Cindy Derosier
  3. Q-Tip Snowman from Mess For Less
  4. Craft Sticks Hot Chocolate from Glued To My Crafts
  5. Mason Jar Snowman from I Dig Pinterest
  6. S is for Snowman from Crafty Morning
  7. Paper Plate Polar Bears from Artsy Momma
  8. Paper Bag Snowmen from I Heart Crafty Things
  9. Memory Mittens from The Classroom Creative
  10. Q-Tip Snowflakes from Babble
  11. Let It Snow Snowglobe from Teacher Pop
  12. Photo Snowflake from Crafting Chicks
  13. Plastic Bag Snowman from Crafts n Coffee
  14. Paper Plate Frosty from Crafty Morning
  15. Snow Covered Tree from The Imagination Box
  16. Mason Jar Candle from Family Focus Blog
  17. Hand Snowflake from The Pinterested Parent


Last, I hope that you have been inspired by one or two of our snowman craft ideas.  After the kids are exhausted from sled riding and building snowmen, pull out our snowman craft ideas.  Our activities will keep them busy for hours.  Be sure to stock up on supplies before the winter storm hits.  Which of our winter crafts is your favorite?

Finally, you may also like:  30+ Rich and Delicious Hot Chocolate Recipes.  This roundup is filled with fun and creative hot chocolate recipes that any kid will love.

 

My Winter Mantel

 

winter mantel ideas, winter ideas, snow mantel ideas
The Christmas Tree is down and all the decorations have been boxed and stored.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t keep a winter theme going.  I love snowmen and snowflakes so I pulled out some of my winter items and went to work on my Let It Snow theme.  I used a bag of cotton/fluff that I purchased from the Dollar Store on clearance last year and created a snowy effect on the mantel. I wanted to add some height to the display so I headed outside and picked a few twigs from my Dogwood tree and painted them white.  I love to display branches in their natural state as well, but I wanted
a snowy feel for the mantel so they received a coat of white craft paint.  I purchased the  vintage pie crust table years ago. It’s housing painted pine cones on an antique milk glass cake stand.  I found the Let it Snow chalkboard sign in the clearance isle at Big Lots for $4.00.

 

winter decorating, painted branches, snowy branches


I placed the painted twigs in two glass vases that I purchased from Michaels. I love that store.  I had white gravel that I purchased from the Dollar Tree so I used it to hold the painted branches in place. I added a painted pine cones to each vase for affect.  I’m a collector of snowmen. I purchased the two wooden snowmen years ago at a craft fair. I love those little guys. The reindeer was purchased from the clearance isle at Walgreens. I snatched him up. They had a clear glass reindeer that I passed up, now I’m sorry  I didn’t get it too.

 

snowmen, winter decorating,

I’m also a collector of quilts. I purchased this antique quilt and pillow at an auction on a Mennonite farm.  I spotted it and my heart skipped a beat. There was history behind, but without the owners I would never know what it was.  I do know that it was made with love and care. It was made in the crazy quilt pattern and has a matching pillow. The pillow is dated 1897, so I’m assuming the quilt was made during the same time period. It is unbelievable how heavy this quilt is and the stitching is impeccable.  I love pulling the quilt out during the winter and sitting by the fire reading a good book.  It is not only heavy, but the backing is made from fleece making it warm and cozy.

 

antique quilts, quilts Mennonites, crazy quilt


I purchased the oil lamp, dough bowl and miniature chair at various antique auctions years ago.  The lamp has the original wick, it was never used. I love the shape of this dough bowl. I actually have 3, the other 2 are round.

 

Image-winter-mantel5

I hope my winter mantel has inspired you.  Do you decorate your mantel or accessorize rooms according to the holiday or seasons?  Leave me a comment, I’ll stop by and gather a few ideas.

How To Dry Orange Slices

dried oranges, dried fruit, Christmas displays
I love for my house to smell good all year.  During the holiday season, I love drying oranges and apples.  I love burning candles and making displays in my home with natural materials.  They usually include orange or apple slices and cinnamon sticks.  Today I’ll show you how to dry orange slices.   It’s easy and they look and smell great in display.

You will need the following:

  • oranges (use large or medium oranges, the slices will shrink)
  • cinnamon sticks

The first step is to preheat your oven to its lowest setting.  Mine is 170 degreesSlice your oranges medium to thick,  you don’t want them to be  too thin.  You also don’t want the slices to be too small.  The slices will shrink as they’re drying and will fall through the cracks of your racks.  If you have a large cookie cooling  rack you can layer your slices on the cooking rack.   Otherwise your oven rack will work just as well.   A cookie sheet will also do. 

drying orange slices, dried orange slices


Allow the slices to dry for 2-3 hours. 
I usually dry my slices on a Saturday when I don’t have to rush or run errands. I set the timer for 2 hours and determine if they’re dry enough or if I want them to dry longer.  If so, I set the timer for another 15 – 30 minutes.

Once I’m satisfied with the texture of the slices I add cinnamon and or cloves.  You can also add fresh greenery.  Spruce, Pine or Cyprus will work great.  You can also add cinnamon pine cones.  Be creative and enjoy this wonderful smell.  The slices will darken as time goes on.  Also the longer you leave them in the oven, the darker they will get.

 

dried fruits, Christmas greenery, dried orange slices

Painted Pine Cones Crafts

painted pine cones

 

 

First, I love using pinecones for crafts and decorating.  I think they make the room festive during the holidays.  Most importantly, they bring a touch of nature into your décor.  I’m laughing as I’m writing this post, I’m remembering my grandson seeing the pine cone one day.  He opened the back door and threw them out.  In his mind, pine cones belonged outside.  I think he may have been 3 or 4 at the time.

However, if you have pine trees on your property, gather a few to add your Christmas décor or to use them in other  crafts. I love free, and I love recycling items.

So, I decided to paint a few of the pine cones to use as a center piece during the holidays.  I needed to give my table a pop of color,  and I thought they would be fun.  And, I really love how the painted pine cones turned out.  I displayed them on an antique milk glass cake plate.  But, the possibilities are endless.  So, find some inspiration and get creative.  For example, you can fill a basket or glass container with the painted pine cones.  Paint them in your favorite colors, and display them on the mantel for a fall or winter display.  Or paint them in spring colors for Easter.

You will need the following items:

  • craft paint brushes
  • craft paints in your favorite colors
  • paper plate
  • newspaper to paint on
  • container for display

Next, I found it easier to just pour a dab of paint onto a paper plate.  I painted the edges of the pine cone with a small paint brush.  Use your favorite colors or you can paint the entire pine cone.  Afterwards, allow the painted pine cones to dry. Drying time is quick for this project.  Around 30 minutes should definitely be sufficient.  Once dry, display in your favorite place.

Last, this is a fun project to do with the kids.  You can expose them to nature by gathering the pine cones on a nature trip.  Afterwards you can paint them as a family project.

 

How To Decorate A Vintage Sled

Vintage Sled Decorations

 

Do you love my vintage sled?  It brings back so many childhood memories.  First, I found this beauty in an antique shop in Lancaster, PA.  There were several sleds in the shop, but I was looking for a special sled.  It had to be a Lightning Guider and I wasn’t going to settle for less.  The owner overheard my conversation with a few of the girls that I was traveling with.  She came out and said I have a Lightning Guider in the back if you would like to see it.  It was exactly what I was looking for, and the owner sold it to me for far less than its value.

You know, when I was growing up we had plenty of snow in the winter and plenty of snow days out of school.  My father always brought several Lightning Guider sleds for Christmas.  As a result, we jumped for joy when school was canceled.  We knew  we would be sled riding all day and eating King’s Syrup sandwiches.  King Syrup was so thick and delicious.  We loved fixing them ourselves and loved the fact that we didn’t have to bother mom to fix our sandwiches.  I think she was so grateful to have a few minutes to herself that she didn’t care how much bread we grabbed, or how much syrup we put on the bread.  We fixed and ate all that we wanted.

After we ate our syrup sandwiches, we would bundle up and head across the street for hours of fun sled riding.  We would stay out until we just about froze. I remember my father pulling off our boots and sitting us beside the wood stove so we could  thaw out.  Additionally, I also remember him using sandpaper to sharpen the blades so the sleds would go faster while we were warming up.  Oh the good ole days.

Unfortunately, they stopped manufacturing the Lightning Guider in the 1990’s.  What a shame, because it was the fastest and the best quality sled on the market.  It is now a classic, and I will hold on to it forever.

I decided to pull the sled out of storage and use it on my front porch for the winter.  I needed fresh greenery for a few center pieces that I want to work on for my tables.  As a result, I decided to add it to the sled as well.   Luckily, I have plenty of pines, spruce and other greenery surrounding my property.  If you’re not as lucky, check out your local Christmas tree lot.  Most are more than willing to give you a few bundles for free.

I love combining different greenery in my center pieces.  Included in the bundle are spruce and pine cuttings. However, you can use whatever you have on hand.  I used smaller pieces on top of longer pieces to give it depth, and tied it together with twist ties.  Use additional twist ties to tie the greenery was to the sled.  I just fluffed the bow out and readjusted it.  It was on the sled from the previous year. The bells are from a wreath that I purchased at the local Goodwill.  A friend found the ice skates at a local Goodwill in Pennsylvania and shipped them to me, lol.  She knew that I would use them for Christmas. The greenery will stay fresh in the cold air through the holiday season.

Did you have a Lightning Guider when you were growing up? If not, share a memory from your days of sledding.

 

 

Fall Craft Ideas: Fall Leaf Frame

 

 

fall craft ideas

 

 

Are you searching for fall craft ideas?  I love making crafts with natural items, especially in the fall.  Making a leaf frame with a few of the pressed leaves that I had stored was at the top of my craft list.   Don’t you love how it turned it out. It was a perfect project to do while sipping a cup of coffee and listening to the morning news.

Spend an afternoon with the kids or grandkids searching for fall leaves.  Place them between 2 sheets of wax paper and leave them in a heavy book to dry.  Once they are dry, they’re ready for this project.

Here’ what you will need:

  • Pressed leaves in various colors and sizes
  • Frame with flat sides (I forgot to take  picture of the actual frame that I used. The one below is just to show you the type needed).
  • Mod Podge  (I have seen miniature bottles at Five and Below for a $1.50, which will be sufficient for this project).
  • A brush or sponge

 


modge podge projects, fall picture frames

 

Creating your frame is simple.  However, the hardest part is waiting for it to dry so you can add your favorite fall picture. If you don’t have pressed leaves available, set a day aside to go on a nature hunt.  Collecting leaves with your children or grandchildren is the perfect fall activity.

Once you gather the leaves and other materials here are your next steps:

  • Start at the bottom and place your leaves around the frame so you can get a feel of where you want them before you coat them.
  • Once you’re satisfied with the placement, coat the front and back of each leaf and place it where you want it on the frame.
  • When all of the leaves are in place, cover all of them with a good coat of Mod Podge.
  • Allow the frame to dry about an hour.
  • Add your favorite fall photo.

 

 

leaf frames, fall decorating, fall crafts

 

If you’re looking for fall craft ideas, we hope you will consider our fall leaf frame.  It was a fun activity, and I’m sure your littles one will enjoy creating a frame and placing their favorite picture in the frame too.  You may also like:  Fall Kindergarten Activity Pack.

 

 

Toilet Paper Roll Turkey Craft

fall crafts, turkey crafts

 

Looking for fall or Thanksgiving crafts for your preschooler or elementary school crafter?  Make this toilet paper roll turkey in no time and with little materials.  It’s a great project to make with the kids.  Save several tubes from the toilet paper.  Also, take a day and spend time with the kids gathering leaves on a nature hunt or a walk around you neighborhood.

You will need to press the leaves once you get them home.  Pressing the leaves is quite simple. This is another fun project to do with the kids.  Give them 2 pieces of wax paper.  Place the leaves between the two sheets of wax paper.  Place the sheets between the pages of a heavy book.  I actually used an phone book, and placed the book under my Kitchen Aid mixer.  After a few days, check the leaves to see if they are dry.  All moisture should be removed.  Once the leaves that you want to use have reached this stage, you are ready to assemble your turkey.   

You will also need the following items:

  • toilet paper roll
  • brown paint
  • paint brush
  • yellow construction paper
  • Googly Eyes ( I found these at the Dollar Tree)
  • leaves

Paint the toilet paper roll brown and allow it to dry thoroughly, approximately 15 minutes.  While the toilet paper roll is drying, spread 4-5 leaves into a fan. Make sure your center leaf is a little higher than the others, you want it to be higher than the tube.

Glue your leaves together with a hot glue gun or Elmer’s glue pen. Next, make the feet and a nose with your construction paper. Be sure to make your legs and feet long enough to hang from beneath the tube. I glued the legs on the inside of the toilet paper roll. Once the toilet paper roll is dry, glue your leaves, eyes, nose and feet to the tube. 


You may also like: 16 Mom Approved Beach Crafts