12 crafts for grandmothers and others

12 crafts for grandmothers and others

My friend Joyce is the most creative and crafty grandma I know. A quick perusal of the colorful and clever posts on her  blog, What Happens at Grandma's, confirms my assertion.

Joyce recently told me she thinks crafts are one of the top things grandmas search for online. Now, I trust Joyce's instincts, hence fully believe she's right in that grandmas hanker for handicrafts to make themselves or with their grandkids.

So I searched my own site to see what comes up. To my surprise, the result presented more than a few crafts. (After eight-plus years of blogging, it's easy to forget...

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DIY gift: Creative and colorful coffee cups

DIY gift: Creative and colorful coffee cups

On the lookout for inexpensive DIY goodies for holiday gifts? (And who isn't?) Here's an idea that went over swell for my youngest daughter's birthday this past summer.

Andrea loves coffee as much as her mother. For her birthday in July, she requested a set of special cups from which to drink and share her favorite breakfast drink. She even directed me to some ideas on Pinterest.

I accepted the challenge, tweaked a few Pinterest pictorials, and came up with these—a unique gift that cost less than $10.

diy coffee cups

What you need:

• Inexpensive, white ceramic mugs...

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Now is the time: Grandma Mail boxes

One of the more popular posts here on Grandma's Briefs has long been one in which I write about the little mailbox I made for Bubby to receive mail from Gramma. I've since made one for Mac, too — and should probably getting moving on Jak's, as well.

 grandma mail boxes

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I'm here today to tell you that if you want to create a Grandma Mail mailbox for your grandchildren, now is the time to stock up...

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Super simple DIY gift: Coffee Hand Scrub

Grandmothers and others who regularly deal with those germ-filled critters we call children wash their hands a lot. Even folks who don't interact with kiddos often wash their hands a lot. Or so I hope, considering all the crud out there of late. Crud that the passing along of can be cut down on by washing one's hands. Often.

coffee hand scrub

With all that handwashing going on, we're a nation with dry hands. Mine certainly are. Which is why I love this easy-to-make and...

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Upcycle this: Wax tarts from candle remainders

Upcycle this: Wax tarts from candle remainders

Wax tarts from candle remainders

I love candles. I don't love how so much of a candle goes to waste. Especially those expensive candles from fancy candle stores, the candles that cost so much yet smell so good. After burning about a third of the way down, the wick inevitably refuses to light and the wax goes to waste.

I have a cabinet where I keep all my jars of candles that no longer burn but have too much yummy smelling wax in them for me to, with clear conscience, throw in the garbage.

That cabinet recently became so full I couldn't...

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Tie-dye for tots... and older kids, too

My youngest grandson, Mac, doesn't have the penchant for craft-making that his older brother does. Bubby's attention span can handle a craft that has, say, six or eight steps, knowing there's a grand payoff at the end. Mac, on the other hand — because he's younger and always on the go, go, go — can handle a craft with one quarter that number of steps, and instant payoff of some sort is key.

Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), finding a craft that pleases both can be a challenge. This one, though — a tie-dye project of sorts — was a success. Mac created one or two and was done; Bubby made one after another until the food coloring bottles were nearly empty. Yes, success!


What you need:

• Coffee filters

• Food coloring

• Clothes pins (or large metal binder clips or large paper clips)

• Paper plates or newspaper — or both — for protecting the crafting surface


What you do:

This craft can be done indoors, but I chose to do it outside to take advantage of the desert weather. Warning: Don't do this outside if there's even the slightest breeze.


Flatten out a few coffee filters per child. Then fold in half and half again and half again, to create a long triangle or sorts. For each child, attach a clothespin to a folded coffee filter, to not only hold the coffee filter closed, but to create a handle for the child to hold the filter without ending up with technicolor hands.


Holding the filter over the paper plate or covered surface, have child carefully squeeze drips of color onto the filter, covering both sides of filter as desired.


Once the child has added all the color he'd like, an adult (again, to prevent colored hands on the child, at least to some degree) should carefully remove the filter and open it up, placing it to dry on the paper plate while a new filter is added to the clothes pin and a new creation started.


Allow the filters to dry completely, then display as desired. Bubby and Mac chose to hang all theirs on their family room window, which created a bit of a stained-glass effect they were quite proud of.


A fast, cheap and easy craft for kiddos with short or long attention spans — and for grandmas and others who claim they're not crafty (you know who you are!).


Today's question:

What did you most recently use food coloring for?

Organization tips for Grandma: Clever storage for toys and more

Note from Lisa: The following content is courtesy Family Features, tweaked for Grandma's Briefs.

To many grandparents, the process of keeping up with the grandkids' toys and more never seems to end. And while your home may never look quite like the perfect rooms in magazines, especially when the grandkids are visiting, a few clever solutions can make it easier to get — and keep — toys, books and clothes more organized.


Think Vertical

If the space where you most often entertain your grandkids is small or doesn't have a lot of built in storage, vertical storage may be helpful.

• Add wall hooks or a peg rack at a height your child can reach and hang up sweaters, pajamas, jackets and book bags.

• Tiered organizers that hang from a closet rod can hold small stuffed animals, clothing items, or shoes.

• Wall hangers with pockets can be hung on the back of a door to hold shoes, small toys and craft supplies.

Boxes, Baskets and Bins, Oh My

Use containers to keep toys and other items sorted and make it easy to put away. Label the outside with words or pictures to help your child know exactly where to put things.

• Home Bento boxes have internal flex dividers, which let you divide up the space within the box however you need it. Use them for small clothing items, craft supplies, small toys and games. They stack on top of each other, making it easy to maximize shelf space.

• Baskets are lightweight and often have handles, so it's easy for a child to take them off the shelf and put them back. Basket liners let you coordinate the look to match your child's room.

• Plastic storage bins can hold larger toys and play sets, off-season clothing and shoes. You can find bins to fit on shelves and under the bed, as well.

Make it Fun

There's no reason something as pragmatic as storage can't be fun, too.

• Keep pens, pencils and markers together in a plastic paint can or flower pot the kids have decorated.

• Place Velcro strips on toys and on playroom walls. Kids will enjoy sticking their toys to the wall, and you'll enjoy a cleaner play space.

• Get an unpainted wooden crate from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft stores, and paint, stain or decoupage it with whimsical colors and designs.

Get more great storage ideas and solutions at www.joann.com.

Project Time For Crafty Grandparents!

The fun Dotty Crate with Drawer pictured above is a great way to give grandchildren a fun and functional storage space — and you can get it done in less than a day.

Dotty Crate with Drawer

Some experience necessary

Crafting Time: 3 to 5 hours

Supplies and Tools:

    Wood crate with 1 drawer (available at craft stores)

    Soy Stains: Fruitwood, Cherry, Walnut

    Rubber gloves

    Old washcloth, soft rag

    Circle templates


    Ruler or yardstick

    1/2-inch flat paintbrush

1. Using rubber gloves and an old cloth, rub the lightest stain, Fruitwood, over entire piece, on every surface that will be visible.

2. Stain the middle slat of the drawer Walnut; stain the 2 adjacent slats Cherry. Repeat for the other side of the drawer; include slat edges when staining.

3. Lightly impress circles on the front of the drawer and the top of the chest using the circle template and stylus. On the sides of the chest impress lines for 2 stripes of different widths, using a ruler and stylus.

4. Fill in the circles and stripes with either Cherry or Walnut stain. For different stain intensities, 2 or even 3 coats of stain can be applied to some circles and some stripes.

Source: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

Today's question:

What's your top storage tip for all the fun stuff you keep for entertaining the kids?

Many word Wednesday: Grandma's Valentines

I recently succumbed to the One-word Wednesday meme. Once in a while, I must make it a Three-word Wednesday. Today, though, I pull out all stops and count not a word, for it will take far more than one and many, many more than three to explain this photo. Here are my many words:

All about Pinterest are cute crafts in which kids use their hands, feet, toes, thumbs to create mementos for Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, anyone who's into saving funny shaped ghosts, reindeer and more featuring an adored kiddo's paw print. I love these things, have made such things with my grandsons, even created a board in which I collect the ideas.

While perusing my Pinterest boards for ideas for Valentine's Day, I came across that board and decided to turn such handprints on their head, so to speak. I enlisted PawDad's help, and together we painted our hands to create a Valentine's Day masterpiece for our grandsons. Here's what we came up with (do note that the names inside the hand hearts are the boys' real names, changed here via Picasa magic to Bubby and Mac as that's they're assumed names on my blog):


Along with packages of M&Ms and a few deflated balloons on which I wrote messages o' love for each boy to appreciate once the balloon is inflated, this is what they get from Gramma and PawDad for Valentine's Day. I hope our grandsons love them as much as we love them—the boys, that is.

Full disclosure: I hung our first practice handprint—with J + L written in the center—on my refrigerator. I love not only my grandsons, but PawDad, too.

Today's question:

What are you sharing with your loved ones for Valentine's Day?