Thursday, 27 August 2015

DIY Birthday Favor Bags with KLUTZ!

Becky Amsel handles Publicity for Klutz and loves anything multicolored.

My daughter turned one (ONE!) this summer and because I am a first time 1st birthday thrower, I went a little birthday crazy. A lot of the party bits were handled by the birthday venue, but the favors were completely up to me. I decided a bunch of babies with tambourines was the ultimate in PARTY, so I ordered a lot of little ones online. They were adorable and perfect and well made…and just needed a carrying bag.

I’m pretty lucky to work around crafters and lots of creative people. It rubs off! And I decided to personalize the gift bags with Klutz’s brand new Design & Dye with No Heat Batik kit.
Design & Dye With No Heat Batik

The results were so awesome and customizing the bags was a breeze. Here’s what I did: 

First I bought plain canvas tote bags. Then I glued each kid’s name onto a bag (there are tons of adorable designs to trace in the book, but the beauty of this craft is that you can also freehand and really make it your own):

Design & Dye With No Heat Batik

After that dried I mixed the colors in the Klutz kit according to the paint mixing formulas to create some nice shades of blue, green, pink and purple. From there, I simply painted over the glued name in a somewhat purposeful paint blob pattern.

I let that dry and then gave the bags a bath! Instructions call for washing in a machine but this way was fun, too. I let the bags soak for about an hour and then hung them to dry.
Design & Dye With No Heat Batik

And then they were complete! 

Design & Dye With No Heat Batik

Design & Dye With No Heat Batik

The gift bags were SUPER CUTE and very enjoyed. I’ve seen them in action since the party as park or beach bags or just hanging on the wall. Fun, easy, and personal!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Big Bubbles

Owen Keating, designer of stuff, creator of boxes, bubble maker.

Summer in the city with kids means getting out of the apartment and spending as much time as possible outside. After a long winter trapped inside, it’s time to get out of that stuffy apartment and go to the park where the kids can run and shout to their hearts’ content, without incurring the wrath of the neighbors.

When I brought How to Make Monstrous, Huge, Unbelievably Big Bubbles home from work I had strangers on the train asking what it was. I took this as a good sign. If adults are interested, I should definitely be able to convince my kids that bubbles are going to be way cooler than watching My Little Pony and Daniel Tiger. It’s not like it’s that hard to get kids to go the park . . . but the promise of a new toy certainly sweetens the deal.

So we mixed up a batch of bubble solution from the recipe in the book and were off to the park. The Bubble Thing is super easy to use and we got some pretty serious bubbles going in no time. Making bubbles proved to be a bit too hard for my 2-year-old but she could pop them like a pro. My 5-year-old, on the other hand, had no problem making enormous bubbles.


We capped off our big outing with a trip to the playground, and all in all I’d say it was a recipe for an awesome afternoon in the park. My girls even decided Big Bubbles was as much fun as the swings—which is pretty high praise from them. 

The bubbles were a big hit and I’m sure we will be making plenty more, and even bigger bubbles this summer. This time we stuck with the basics, next time we’ll go deeper into the book and try out some of the tricks you can do with the Bubble Thing.

P.S. Big bubbles are a great way to make new friends. You’re going to draw a crowd.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Klutz Activity Kits to the Rescue

Stacy Lellos, Mom of 3 and GM of Klutz
What is a mom to do when the weather derails a day at the lake with her girls and their friend? Luckily, for this mom, we have many different Klutz kits at home! I suggested we all pick out one kit to do together, but when I brought out the box of books from our craft closet, each child was drawn to something different, telling me to “hold on!” while they read through the one that caught their eye.

I realized that rather than push for us all to do the same thing, the beauty of creating is to find what speaks to you.  Klutz has such incredible breadth it’s easy for each child to find something that ignites their imagination.  For my oldest daughter Sophia, who loves to draw but doesn’t always feel confident in her abilities, Stencil Art was the perfect find. The stencils and designs in the book gave her all the tools she needed to create with confidence.  For her friend Joelle, who takes art classes at school, Face Painting gave her a new medium with which to try her skills; first drawing on her own arm, before convincing Sophia that it would not be weird AT ALL to go shopping later with a tiger
painted on her face.


As for my little one, Evangeline, the cuteness of Paper Pups drew her attention right away, and dressing them-up in the different outfits made her giggle with delight!  That was until her big sis went to get her face-painted by Joelle, and then, like all little sisters everywhere, she saw the project her big sister started was left unattended and decided to make it her own. :)

And as with so many Klutz products, she at six, could have success creating with the easier designs included while her 12-year old sister could move to the more complicated designs in the book.  It¹s one of the tenets of our company of which I’m most proud; we make creating accessible for every age and ability.  Our step-by-step, crystal-clear instructions help kids to not feel intimidated to try new  things.

The girls had a blast and by the time they finished their projects, the sun came out literally and, from Evangeline’s drawing, figuratively, too!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Tiny Stitches, Big Results

Vicky Eva, Klutz buyer, DIY queen, and (most importantly) proud mama

Who says Klutz kits are just for kids? I’ve always loved crafting and designing, as far back as I can remember. Over the years I’ve made purses and jewelry, stenciled walls and ceilings, re-upholstered and refinished furniture, and even wallpapered my bathroom the day before I gave birth. Needless to say, I love all things DIY! I wish I could learn a new craft every day of the week, but with two little ones now, I find little time for my favorite hobbies. Luckily, with Klutz’s Tiny Stitches, I have a good excuse to make time for DIY. I decided to give my baby girl’s clothes and accessories a bit of extra flair (while satisfying my need to be creative).

The simply adorable designs in this book are the perfect inspiration to jazz up those common bibs, onesies, dresses, and even stuffed animals.  I find most items in the market are often too busy and not unique, at least not the affordable ones. But with this kit, I can monogram and create special designs to my heart’s content.

With the needles, floss threads, and embroidery hoop from the kit all ready to go, I stitched a few flowers and leaves on a plain bib—and the result is so much fun.

What better way to give character to a plain white onesie than to jazz it up with a bow! She’s ready to party.

I couldn’t resist making a monogram for her so I sewed mini flowers, leaves, and a butterfly on a cardigan to create a bouquet of loveliness for my sweet girl.

I’m so happy with the result and I don’t think my little Bianca minds wearing mommy’s DIY projects.  These creations are a hundred times more special than the store-bought versions. I cannot wait to start on the next project . . . I’m sure I can find some dresses or headbands of hers that need a little pizzazz.

Friday, 26 June 2015

A Room with a View Courtesy of Window Art

Courtney deVerges, sales assistant, office hand model, amateur window artist

I’m rapidly approaching the one-year anniversary of my big leap to move to New York City after spending my entire life in the south. I successfully survived the winter, which was quite the feat, and now I’m experiencing (and loving!) how alive the city becomes in the summertime.

NYC has so many things to offer, but spacious living quarters is NOT one of them! My good friend from college and I live in an itty-bitty apartment (in a GREAT location, luckily)—which means there are no closets, no dishwasher, no washer or dryer, and NO views (unless you consider a dark alley and a brick wall idyllic . . . yeah, didn’t think so). So I thought to myself, why not create my own view that I can wake up to every morning? That’s when I grabbed a Klutz favorite, Window Art, and put on my interior decorating hat.

Window Art has been a Klutz mainstay for almost 15 years and now I see why. With a few squirts of paint, a steady hand, and the patience to let the paint dry, I was able to turn a boring window typically hidden behind a curtain into a room with a view!

Since I decided to create designs that were not in the book, first I drew skyscrapers on paper with a permanent marker. My rendering of the Empire State Building was a tad too tall to trace it onto the plastic sleeves that come with the book, so I used a large zip-top plastic bag. It worked just fine. Then I followed the steps in the book by placing the plastic tracing sleeves (or plastic bag) over my drawings, and tracing the buildings with the black paint.

I also traced a sun and a moon, both designs included in the book. Tip: It takes a little bit of practice, but the designs come out better if you don’t let the tip of the bottle touch the plastic when you’re tracing. That way, the outlines create an unbroken barrier to hold your fill color.

I let the black paint dry for a little while and then began to fill in my designs with the colored paints. It’s important to be generous with the fill colors. Have no fear—I thought the fill colors were bleeding over the black details, but once the paint dried overnight the colors sort of shrunk within their barriers and the black details were still perfectly visible! Check out the before and after pics:

See, even though it looked like the blue paint was covering up the black window details, once it dried the windows were very clear.
I let my designs dry for a good 24 hours, then carefully peeled them off the plastic and placed them on my window. And ta-da! I had my very own one-of-a-kind stained glass designs. Not only did I add some pizazz to my mini bedroom, but also now I can say I have a view! Who needs a swanky rooftop after all?

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Craft Day at Grandma's (with Potholders and Other Loopy Projects)

Kim Ryon, sales manager and grandma extraordinaire

What better way to bring out my inner seventh-grade crafter on a special afternoon with my granddaughters than to tackle a project that I remember doing during summer camp—Potholders! I have clear memories of sitting on a rickety picnic table at a community park creating these colorful kitchen accessories.
I couldn’t wait to make new memories with my granddaughters when I saw Potholders and Other Loopy Projects. This Klutz activity kit is packed with hundreds of colorful loops and a loom that makes it easy for kids of all ages to weave a variety of fun crafts. It was a perfect activity to take on with my granddaughters, who are 4 and 9. We planned a “Craft Day at Grandma’s” so that I could share my exceptional knowledge of welting and weaving with them, but in a last-minute panic my daughter-in-law asked if she could leave her son with me too. I couldn’t say no to my grandson, but I was sure that Isaac would be bored out of his mind since his favorite thing to do at our house is help Grandpa with yard work, or fix anything that needs repairs. But boy, did he prove me wrong. By the time his older sister, Lena, was done picking out the colors for her potholder, Isaac was already halfway through his own.
Potholders and Other Loopy ProjectsPotholders and Other Loopy Projects

We only had two looms so the youngest, Lyla, took pictures while she waited her turn (but she was itching to make a potholder of her own). Once it was her turn, she loved stretching the loops straight across the loom, and I loved seeing how proud she was of her color combination! The second layer of loops was a bit harder for my youngest granddaughter, since it required weaving over and under, but I was excited to reminisce about my own childhood and share my expertise (with a quick glance at the instructions of course).

Voilá! After only about an hour we had two finished potholders, three happy kids, and lots of precious memories!

The crafts were supposed to be a surprise gift for their mom on a later date, but as soon as she walked in the door, they couldn’t wait to show her what they had made her. They were so proud of their accomplishments that they have been begging me for another project ever since. So stay tuned for the next “Craft Day at Grandma’s!”

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Astound and Annoy! (with Prankster Magic from Klutz)

by Linda Olbourne, editor, buyer, and self-proclaimed dinner entertainer

I’m not a prankster, but the rest of my family definitely falls into that category. While my role as the “gullible victim” is an important one, I felt it was time to turn the tables a bit. Dinner plans with my husband, our friends, and their children were fast approaching, and I was determined to show these folks a thing or three!
Here’s the situation: You’re out to dinner at a restaurant and the kids are BORED.
We’ve all seen it (and most of us have done it)—just whip out the phone or tablet to keep everyone happy until the mac and cheese arrives. It’s fast! It’s easy! It’s . . . no fun for an adult who wants to actually hang out with the kids long before packing them up for college. I don’t get to see my young extended family or the kids of my friends on a daily basis, so when they are around I want to get some quality time with them.
But how much fun can you have at a restaurant without annoying everyone around you or upsetting the waitstaff? Well, a lot, actually. A little pre-reading of Klutz’s Prankster Magic set me up to star in my own ridiculous dinner show and I loved it.
I practiced at home first, enlisting my cat, Posey and husband, Shane as test subjects.
For my first trick, “Phony Fork Bending” . . .
Props needed:
  • A dime: Try your couch, pockets or purse for this one.
  • A metal fork: 99.9% of restaurants with tablecloths can help you here.
You hide the dime in your hands, move the fork down, tip the dime forward and BAM. It looks like you’ve managed to bend your fork up at the back.
I made Shane demonstrate because I haven’t done my nails:
It’s cooler in person!
The best part is when you “magically” bend it back into place. This was a great opportunity to really use my full repertoire of sound effects. “Grrrrrrrr ahiahahiayaaaaaa!” is a favorite.
Reactions may vary. At dinner, they ran from wonder and disbelief (4 year old) to eye-rolling and the silent treatment (12 year old), but I can handle it. And conversation followed. ACTUAL CONVERSATION.
It was a win, so I decided to press on and practice something new for a future dinner or lunch date. For my next trick, “Mind vs. Straw!”
Props needed:
  • A paper wrapped straw
  • A salt shaker
This one I practiced at work with a straw from the local coffee place and one of those plastic salt shakers from the store. (None of my coworkers asked what I was doing in the kitchen, by the way. Odd.)
My straw didn’t have paper, so I rubbed it on my shirt. This trick is all about building up static electricity. So rub the straw, and then balance it on the top of the shaker. Now, you can get your finger close and “lead” the straw around without touching it. MAGIC.
You’ll see in the video that my finger actually was totally touching the straw, but it still looks pretty cool.
Important side note: I was also able to create static by rubbing a plastic straw on my cat at home. Posey (the cat) has almost forgiven me, but I would definitely suggest you stick with rubbing your straw on paper or a shirt unless you want to see this face.
If coin tricks, card tricks, or grossing people out with fake chewed gum are more up your alley, there is plenty for you in Prankster Magic.
While a good magician never reveals her secrets, a Prankster always should! It’s just as fun to show them how you did it as to do the trick in the first place. Take my husband Shane, who I’ve been practicing on. He thinks I’m hilarious.
What? We were out of bananas.