Crafting With A First Grade Fashionista


first grade fashionista


There was once a time when I could style my daughter.

I favored earthy, bohemian clothes for her:  autumnal layers in subdued colors, natural fibers, denim and vintage-looking outfits…


Those days are gone, gone, gone.


A couple of years ago, our little girl began to assert her independence and claim her own identity by rejecting outfits with a “Nah.  That’s not really my style.

She developed a very glitzy, blingy style. Loud, bright colors and shiny, sparkling accessories are what she loves.

If she can’t find what she’s looking for, she’ll just make what she wants.

She’s turned into our little First Grade Fashionista.



Here’s one of her style creations:  


A mermaid skirt

made of butcher block paper,

held up with gold ribbon,

and stamped

with bubble-wrap

dipped in metallic paint.




Within the last year, we saw this love of fashion translate into some fun craft and dramatic play activities:


1)  DRESS-UP:   This provided a good reason to pass items like scarves, hats, purses and fashion jewelry down to our daughter to fill her dress-up basket.


2)  DRESS MOM UP:   Our daughter brings a stepping stool into my closet sometimes to pick out a dress she would like me to wear to her stuffed animal birthday celebrations in the play room.


3)  JEWELRY BEADING:  With pipe cleaners or rubber elastic cord (found at craft stores) and various beads, kids can easily make their own jewelry.   A good tip on this activity?  Use a small piece of tape to secure one end of the cord to a desk/table to help small hands focus on beading.  Even our son enjoys this activity and it opens opportunities to work on fine motor skills, counting and pattern-making.


4)  FASHION SKETCHING:  A sketch book and colored pencils are all that is required, really.  But, there are many sketch books with stencils available now for kids!


5)  3D PAPER FASHION DESIGN:  This activity rolls all of the above activities up into one very cool and creative craft activity!


This is our daughter’s newest Fashion Passion….


Our first grader borrowed the little mannequin I was using to hold necklaces because she wanted to create actual outfits she had sketched.


This is what I saw one day while in the shower.  


In the shower.




That’s Right.




fashionista 25


But when creative inspiration strikes, it is something to be encouraged!


Moms understand that “Anytime” really means At. Any. Time.

So, of course, she could totally use that jewelry mannequin!


Fashionista 26


The kids are surprisingly imaginative in the ways they use the scrap materials.

We actually keep all of ours in an an old Legos Container.

When I have leftover craft materials, I don’t throw them away.

They go into our daughter’s new Fashion Design container.

Maybe one day I’ll get my jewelry mannequin back.




Until then, I’m happy to see it being put to even better use.









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Quilling With Kids…

In the coming weeks, you’ll get to see some step-by-step photos about how we’ve been “quilling” as a family.

Quilling is the art of paper filigree ( if you’re an adult that does it.)

And, it’s often called “Twirled Paper Art” (if you’re a kid.)

Or Vice Versa.

Or something like that.


Ever since we quilled Superman, we’ve been hooked on this interesting paper crafting art!

I Quilled Superman 1A friend of mine asked if we could make a large origami whale for her as decor for a party.   I tried to do  a large one, but was not happy with the Origami version.

 So, I decided to try quilling a whale, instead.

You’ll find details about how you can do one, too, in an upcoming post!

Quilling With Kids 4

Our daughter has been interested in learning how to do “Twirled Paper Art” for some time.

When the school announced an assignment to make any ocean animal out of anything, she chose to make a Clam With A Pearl.

You can see what she started with below.

Quilling With Kids 1

( You’ll get more info on how you can also try some of our Ocean-Life quilling projects with kids once I finish up the post about our recently completed Ultimate Make-Over Event where we spent two fun days with a fantastic winner! )

Quilled art, is by its very nature, abstract.   So, I thought it was interesting she wanted to use this method for her ocean art project.

Quilling With Kids 2

Quilling IS a good amount of work, for any adult or child.  That’s part of the allure of it, I think.

It FORCES fast-moving people to slow down.  Some people knit.  Some quilt.  We quill.  🙂

It’s much easier than you might think, and the kids will surprise you!

Our nearly 6-year old daughter TOTALLY did this herself.  Like, I said, the clam is a bit “abstract” but I think her work is just beautiful!  🙂

Quilling With Kids 3

As we expected, hardly any of her classmates or teachers recognized exactly what her ocean animal was (on the first guess).  

BUT….. she was completely happy with her work. 

She learned something new.

The kids and I did it together.

And, it’s pretty awesome whether anyone knows what it is or not.

And, that’s all that really matters.




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I Quilled Superman

We’ve dabbled in  origami and tissue paper crafting  but I’ve been intrigued by “Quilling” (kind of the art of twirling paper fancily) ever since I first saw it featured  last April,on the The Outlaw Mom’s Blog as part of her “CRAVE IT. COVET. LOVE IT.”  Series.

So, I bought all the stuff the craft store aisle implied I needed by its mere presence in the “quilling” section and promptly stuffed my own stocking with it.

I Quilled Superman 4

Our son’s birthday party is coming around AGAIN and he wants another Super Hero party.   We love themed parties and we love Super Heroes so we’re looking forward to this one after last year’s!

You can go here to see what it looked like (The Pinnable Post).  And you can go here to read about all of the funny stuff that happened at it  (The Un-Pinnable Post).  🙂

 This year our 4-year old son is the primary Super Hero Instructor at his own personalized Super Hero Training Academy.  That post will be out sometime next month.  🙂

We always try to create our own activities and props which saves a lot of money and also gets the kids excited and invested in their parties in the weeks leading up to the big celebration of their arrivals.

I reasoned that this was as good a time as any to try to learn to quill and make a Super Hero sign for our front door.

So, I sat down last night, read the instructions, messed up a few coils and then completed my very first quilling project!

I Quilled Superman 2

He’s not perfect by a long-shot.

And, I don’t really have any tips or tutorials for you other than it takes a few screw-ups to figure out how to get the coils where you want them at first.

And, there is an art that I have not yet mastered that enables one to emplace glue in a way that doesn’t smudge or crust or ruin the effect.

I didn’t have a template- just an image in my mind of my little boy, wearing his beloved Clark Kent curl and his cape (which is why his initial is on the front of the costume)- so all I can tell you is that I built the  image as I went and then just filled up the empty space between the coils.

No real plan.

See how easy this is?

I only offer this up to you to show you that you can create some pretty cool stuff

if you’re willing to just dive in and screw up a few coils with sticky fingers before making something you love.  

I was “Super” intimidated by the look of quilled art before breaking out the tools- which explains why it took nearly a full month to just open the packaging and read the instructions.

I Quilled Superman 1

Our son is just tickled at this paper rendition of him.

It isn’t pristine at all.  There are definitely some amateurish flaws- but to our little boy, it is just perfect.

And, I am well aware that my lack of a template or clear artistic vision resulted in a bouffant resembling the fuzzy turban of one of Queen Elizabeth’s Palace Guards, or perhaps the image is less Superman and more Napoleon Bonaparte in his jammies….but, I only had two goals when I set out to make this for my little boy:

1)   Learn How To Quill and

2)  Quill a Clark Kent Curl

There is our son at the local kids’ hair salon where he asks for “The Clark Kent” haircut and they totally give it to him.


And here is how I “Quilled” Superman’s curl to match my baby boy’s:

I Quilled Superman 3

There is still a lot of learning to be done when it comes to paper crafting- but I have to say, I think quilling may have just become a new hobby.  (Because I need another one of those).

Just, whatever anyone does, DO NOT buy me crochet needles or sewing machines or woodworking or distressing tools.  🙂




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Need Some New Play Date Ideas?

Critters And Crayons is participating in a Play Date Blog Hop with a group of fantastic kid-bloggers!


All Done Monkey 

Learn with Play at home

Coffee Cups and Crayons 

Caution! Twins at Play 


Here are some of C&C’s ideas for themed play dates worth trying!

Try A Group Nature Hike…

Our family recently went on a nature hike with two other families and it is something we plan to do on a larger scale soon with several other families.  There is nothing like getting out into nature where discoveries and beauty abound.

The children are delighted by the simplest sights:  a snake trail across a dirt path, a rocky crevice swarming with giant ants carrying morsels half the size of their bodies, hardened tree sap, seashells on a hilltop or driftwood near the river.

For so many of us busy-folk, these things lose their magic.  But, children can teach us to view them with wonder again.

And this photo was taken on a different nature excursion but it is too cute not to share.  Our 5 year old daughter found those snails at a random rest stop on a road trip.

That adorable little snail in her hand wasn’t even the size of a pencil eraser.  He was just teeny tiny.  We were all surprised to find that all of the shells were filled with these cuties!  So, grab some baggies and some magnifying glasses and take your play date into nature!

 And There is Always Origami (Of Course)…..

Here, we made simple origami suncatchers in the hotel room.  But, you can see how we made origami into a play date and party theme here:  The $50 Origami Party!

 And How About All That Make-Up You Need To Get Rid Of?  It’s Totally Great For An Art Play Date!

Did you miss the post on using old make-up to make art?  Did you miss my hubby’s mascara grim reaper?

I made a huge purge of make-up in my last de-cluttering phase and it is all now in a tackle box we keep in the kitchen.

The kids make some pretty neat art with it.  Here, you can see our daughter’s work-  It reminds me of a Dia De Los Muertos exhibit.

Imagine how fun it would be to line a floor with unrolled butcher block paper and to see what the kids can do with that old lipstick of yours?  What took you 10 years to throw away will be gone in 2 minutes, I promise.


And What About Those Puppets?

We recently figured out that the best and cheapest puppet storage that places puppets right at a pre-schooler’s height for rapid fire puppeteering is a shoe rack.  Since then, we have been doing some serious nighttime puppeteering.

Sometimes, the kids put on the show for us or their “audience”.

Yes.  That is a T-Rex wearing pink Minnie Mouse undies.  We don’t discriminate around here.  All animals (living, extinct, or inanimate) have an inalienable right to modesty.

If your Puppet Show Play Date lacks humans, please feel free to borrow our kids’ solution.  🙂


And You Can Always Keep It Simple With a Sweet Family Pretend Pizza Party Play Date…..

This might be the best play date of all.  It is the “unwind and bond as a family” play date.

Mom and Dad might exceed the tensile strength of those Little Tikes kid stools, and we may have to shift our weight from side to side to keep parts of our body from tingling and falling asleep- but it is worth it.

These are the play dates that might be the most memorable- the ones where we stopped doing what we think we need to do to focus on what we really need to do.




For more fantastic ideas from other Kid Bloggers, check out the links below!  If you have a play date post, please feel free to add it!

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The $50 Origami Birthday Party! {DailyBuzz Moms 9×9)

I am thrilled to participate in the DailyBuzz Moms 9×9 “Party On” Challenge!

This month’s “Party On” theme came just in time for our daughter’s fifth birthday party!   We have some big-time expenses around the corner (family weddings, extended travel, showers to throw…) and so we wanted to see if we could throw a nice and memorable party on a budget.

Origami was the way to go for us!

We ended up spending just under $50!  

Here’s how we did it!


This saved  a  lot of cash.  Here, you can see our play room ready to host 8 kids.  Yes, we had to clean up our play room afterward.  (But, we do that for play dates all the time.)


We used pieces from around our home (like that shadowbox from the living room, those vases from the kitchen and birdcages from our daughter’s bedroom)….


The party was at 3 PM so folks didn’t expect a big food spread.  We laid out chips, dip and cupcakes for the adults with a couple of bottles of sparkling soda.  The kids “dined” on croissants filled with organic blueberry jam and peanut butter.  

We made origami pouches to hold the organic apples and yogurt pretzels (bought in bulk).  We made our own cupcakes and decorated with toothpicks through origami cranes.  And, our daughter helped to make the origami heart decor for the apple juice boxes!

***Note:  Kids with peanut allergies were given peanut-free options  🙂  ****


We had a lot of origami paper left over after the home and food decor were made.  One pack of origami paper costs $10 for 150 sheets.  It went a long, long way and the kids enjoyed learning how to make simple folds of hearts and rockets.


The kids took home pencils displayed in vases as decor topped with origami flowers or rockets.  

There were also some simple pinwheels to throw and little flower hair clips for the girls to choose from.  Each child took home 8 sheets of origami paper secured with a paper clip.

The cost of the party favor materials?  $2.99 for 20 hair clips from Hobby Lobby and $1.50 for 12 natural pencils from Target plus a few sheets of origami paper from the $10 pack.  I bought a pack of multi-colored buttons at Ross for $2.99 (normally $8 value).  

An origami party is a versatile, inexpensive, beautiful, and cultural way to throw a party for children.  

  • I definitely recommend this kind of party for children 5 years and older.  
  • Yes.  There IS a time-cost to make the decor that balances out  the money-savings.
  • BUT…. the beauty of origami is that it is something that can be done anywhere and anytime.
  •  You could make just a couple of items a day months or weeks in advance.  I started two weeks out and folded during episodes of CSI, The Apprentice and The Voice.  🙂
  • I actually always have sheets of origami paper in my bursting planner to pull out with the kids wherever we might be.
  • The best part of it all?    I have a lot of leftover materials to do other projects with!    (Like these Origami Paper & Mod Podge-coated Dollar Store Cookie Tray Magnetic Boards I’m making for my friends!    Total cost…about $1.50 per board.  🙂

To See More Photos Of  Our Origami 5th Birthday Party, Here’s A Slideshow!

(Ipads and Iphones may have  difficulty  viewing the slideshows, sadly…)


If you’re interested in how we made some of the party decorations and favors, you can check these past C&C posts on how we made and used the origami butterflies and cranes:
Here are links to other online origami resources!


(Again, Ipads and Iphones may have trouble viewing slideshows…)

Many Thanks to DailyBuzz Moms For Featuring Our Party!
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Origami Ideas For Family Fun, Gifts & Decor!

Last month, I ran a post on how we made an origami butterfly wall for our daughter’s bedroom.

Origami was such a prevalent sight in my early childhood in Korea that I am still surprised when someone asks me what it means.

So, I thought folks might be interested to see some of the ways that my kids and I use the origami we make together as gifts or as decor around our own home!

We recently made this Origami Butterfly “Specimen” Shadowbox for a good friend of mine who was leaving.  She plans to hang it in her play room!

For room decor, you can make large cranes and suspend them with thread in small bird cages or Wedding card holders-  like this pink one in our daughter’s room:

Or this white and gold one I gave to my departing friend to hang in her family room.

And for other rooms of the house, you can take things like that bird cage-inspired platter-topper and use it to hang cranes or other paper birds….

There are many tutorials available online and Hobby Lobby has a few books for beginners, too!  Other great places to check for deals on origami kits are stores like Ross, Marshalls or TJ Maxx.  I have seen expensive kits there for much less!

I admit, I keep a few sheets of origami paper in my planner for emergencies.

Sometimes a child nearby is crying or my kids are bored- and origami has a way of soothing them.

Maybe it’s the concentration on the folds, or the rote activity of repetition (like knitting) that does the trick.  But, there is usually some level of delight for a child to see a 2 dimensional piece of paper transform into a 3D figure.

The very best things about origami are that it is a simple way to bond with your kids and it is inexpensive.

Our four year old already knows how to make her own origami baskets!

The thing I am most looking forward to is seeing her and my son teach their own kids how to do this ancient paper-folding art that I learned in my childhood.

Those creations will be the most special of all, I think!



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Decorating A Girl’s Room: DIY Origami Butterflies

We are re-doing our daughter’s side of the room.  She loves butterflies.

We decided we would make our own ” DIY Origami Butterflies ”  to create a sort of migratory pattern where the butterflies started near her brother’s side of the room and finished up by her bed.

We got out a bunch of scrapbook paper I’ve held onto now for about 5 years and she picked the colors she wanted them to be.

I downloaded a printable tutorial on how to make origami butterflies here.

She helped to make a couple by following some simple folds I taught her.

And then, I just made butterflies until we had enough to fill her wall.

Total cost for the entire project was around $12 for the scrapbook paper, origami paper and thumbtacks we used to affix each butterfly.

She’s happy with it!

And so are we!

One of these days, I might make the butterfly migration go around the entire room….as soon as the blisters on my fingertips heal from all that origami.  🙂







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