Monday, October 10, 2011

'Nutty Squirrels' and 'Falling Leaves'

Happy weekend to you!  As promised, here is your weekend post of all the things we weren't able to finish over this past week.  We hope you find something here that inspires you!  Our photos:

In honor of National Newspaper Week (and Fall!), we made newspaper leaves, inspired by the newspaper flowers we saw at  Here are the materials we used: a sheet of newspaper, paints in Fall colors, a brush, and scissors.
 First, we spread out our newspaper, then made strokes over it in our Fall-colored paints.
 Then, we cut out leaf shapes using what we had (stencils and cookie cutters).
Trace onto your painted paper, then cut out.
 With our finished leaves, we staggered them onto a piece of raffia and hung them from a doorknob in the house to add to our Fall decorations!  Really cute and super easy!
Next, inspired by the newspaper activity we saw at, we got out newspaper, scissors, and tape, and set to work making a newspaper outfit of our own!
Getting help from Daddy on her snazzy sleeves ...
Laughing at Daddy's construction because he made the sleeve so Maggie couldn't bend her arm!  Silly Daddy!
With her hat and looking a bit more put together ...
All dressed, and even accessorized with a nifty newspaper necklace!  
Later, to wrap up our Squirrels curriculum, we made the 'Nutty Squirrels' as seen at, using a cardboard egg carton, brown felt, brown acrylic paint, three small black pom-poms, six googly eyes, a 12-inch brown pipe cleaner, tacky glue, scissors, a pencil, and paintbrush.
First, carefully cut out three egg cups from your carton, and use your pencil to make a hole in each cup for the squirrels' tails.  Then, cut your pipe cleaner into three equal pieces (about 4 inches long each).  Finally, cut from your brown felt, three faces (I cut out an acorn shape), three tails, and six ears for your squirrels.  Set your felt pieces, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and pom-pom noses aside.
Then, get to work painting your egg cups!
(She's always go that tongue out when she's really concentrating!)  :)
Once your egg cups are dry, you can add on your squirrels' facial features with your tacky glue, like below.
 Then, fringe the edges of your tails and glue a piece of pipe cleaner down the center for each, letting the pipe cleaner extend beyond the bottom of your felt.  Once dry, attach each tail by inserting the pipe cleaner through the hole that you made, then glue into place on the inside of each cup.
 They turned out great ... adorable!
 Use an acorn to play the game 'Which Squirrel Has the Nut?'
Later, we made the 'Falling Leaves' craft that we found on  You need the tree template on their site, a plastic sandwich-sized Ziploc bag, glue, construction paper in Fall colors (orange, red, yellow, and brown), a piece of light blue construction paper (for the sky), scissors, crayons to color the trunks of the trees and the grass (brown and green), and a paper punch.  (Their site called for a hole punch, but we actually had a little leaf punch that I thought would make our completed craft look better.)
First, punch out your leaves (or holes).
Next, we colored the tree trunks and grass on the template before adding glue to the tree branches.  Once the branches were well covered in glue, we added some of our leaf confetti.  We put the remaining confetti into our Ziploc bag, and closed it, being sure not to press too much air out of the bag.  
The next part did not go as easily for us as the site made it seem.  The site states: 'Sandwich the baggie between the two papers [your template and blue construction paper] by spreading glue along the edges of the baggie, front and back.  Also spread glue on the outer edges of the paper window.  The blue rectangle is glued behind the baggie, and the fall trees is glued on the front.'  Well, that's all fine and dandy except what they don't tell you is that your baggie is going to be so much bigger than your template, which makes your Fall scene look funny, frankly.  So, what I did was take out my trusty tape and do some folding.  I took the excess bag and folded it behind my blue paper, and taped it down into place.  No excess and no waiting for glue to dry.  Do what's best for you.  (Again, if something doesn't work, get creative and find your own way to make it work.)
Maggie, with her finished 'Falling Leaves' craft.  (I still think I should have done something different with the top, too, so you don't see the locking part of the Ziploc bag.  More folding, over the top, would have eliminated that.)
We also made some 'Waxed Leaves' this weekend, following the instructions from the October 2009 issue of Family Fun magazine, page 22.  To wax leaves, you need 1/4 pound of Paraffin wax (I bought 1 pound at Hobby Lobby for $4.29, before my 40% off coupon, making it less than $2.60), 2 clean cans (1 about 13.5 ounces, and one about 28 ounces), newspaper, waxed paper, and colorful Fall leaves.
Place your wax in the smaller can, and place that can inside the larger one.  Add warm water to both cans, filling them to about 1/2 inch below the rim of the small can.  Place the cans directly on your stove burner and heat on medium until the wax melts.  (It took a good 15 minutes or more for it to melt.)  
The wax will melt clear.  Using an oven mitt, remove the cans from the heat before it boils.
 Put your cans on newspaper to keep wax from dripping onto your work surface.  To avoid the can from slipping around or from scalding my counter, I turned a saucer upside down and placed the cans inside the groove of the same.  It worked great.
 Next, holding a leaf by its stem, carefully dip it into the wax.  (My husband is demonstrating.)
Once well coated, lay your leaf onto a sheet of wax paper to harden.
Maggie, trying her hand at it ...
Be careful, as the cans are still quite hot.
Our waxed leaves, drying.

In addition to above, this weekend, we also:
1.  We completed page 33 of our Sesame Street: Super Sticker Book, which required her to sort the Fall leaves stickers by color, and put them on the chart provided.

How are you guys liking the new format?

This week, we'll be studying the rainforest in honor of World Rainforest Week, bats in honor of Bat Appreciation Month, and we'll be starting a two-week curriculum on nutrition, in honor of Eat Better, Eat Together Month.  I think this week's schedule may run from Wednesday through Saturday (rather than Tuesday through Friday) because Maggie's uncle and cousin are visiting from Montana, so you may not see another post from us until Wednesday evening.  Until then, happy crafting!

Rachel and Mags  :)

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