DIY Easter Egg Fillers (that aren't candy!)

I'm making my third appearance on Afternoon Live today! No glue gun this time, so my nerves are a little calmer. My advice to anyone demonstrating a craft on live television is don't rely on a tool that has a questionable track record when no one is watching, because it's really going to act up when they are. 

(And here's the video, to prove I survived!)

Speaking of acting up, my topic today is things you can make to fill those kidlets' Easter eggs without adding to the day's sugar rush. I'm not against a few sweets, but we've all seen that flurry of Sunday clothes and plastic grass that happens when the safe jelly bean level has been exceeded. How about some ideas that not only have zero impact on their calm, but can also be fun to make? Here's a sneak peek!

Easter egg fillers you can make that aren't candy from craftystaci.com #eastercrafts #eastereggfillers

Bracelet Kit

Let's start with one that takes nothing but a trip to the craft store (or possibly just your craft room).  This is a good one for either big kids or little, just adjust your contents accordingly.

Gather beads, buttons, charms or any other trinket you can put on a string. Add some sort of twine or cord. Be sure there's some way to hook the ends, either with a macrame style loop and knot or, as I did, a lanyard hook and a key ring.  Another nice addition is a large, blunt needle, just be sure it will fit through the beads.

You can throw everything directly into a plastic egg, but keep in mind they won't know what's inside and won't open it with the care required, so you'll be looking for beads for days. I prefer to put the kit into a small plastic bag and put that inside the egg. 

Mini Paper Airplanes

There are two ways you can package these. Either fold the plane, if it's going to someone that doesn't quite have the dexterity required yet, or just cut out the rectangle and slip that into the egg for a DIY plane.  You can print the ones I used here.

You don't even have to print these. You can cut a 2 1/2 x 2 3/4" rectangle from a magazine or even the right junk mail!

Seeds and Plant Markers

This is another super-easy one, and adjustable to the age and ability level of your recipient. Simply buy a package of seeds and add a popsicle stick or wooden ice cream spoon. You can either pre-decorate the stick as a plant marker, or let the kiddo do it (my personal preference!) I have great memory of a very tall sunflower my own little one grew one Easter.

Homemade Crayons and Printable Coloring Book

My kids used to have a big container of random crayon bits. Anything that was broken or without a wrapper went into it. My daughter actually took it with her when she left home. Those crayon box rejects would be perfect for making your own crayons.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Peel the wrappers off the crayons. Since I didn't have the tub anymore, I started with a box of 24, which took me an HOUR to peel. They mean for those things to stay wrapped. Break up the crayons and fill the cavities of a silicone mold. I recommend placing the mold on a cookie sheet, because trying to pull the floppy thing out of the oven when the wax has melted is impossible. Fact.

Bake for about 10 minutes, but keep an eye on it. Remove the crayons from the oven when they're just melted. Cool and pop out of the molds.

You can print the mini coloring book I made here. Try not to make fun of my art. 

You can also make your own - all it takes is a piece of paper and a black pen!

Wood Emoji Eggs

You can find wooden eggs in any craft store, in a variety of sizes. For these, I just painted them yellow with some craft paint, then added the faces with paint pens and a Sharpie.

Another option is to give the kids the bare eggs and some paint and help them create something fun.

Printable Egg Coupons

These might look like a little thing, but they have some big redemption possibilities. No chores for a whole day? A new book? Dinner of your choice? Sign me up. 

You can print out the ones I made here, or these blank eggs so you can write in your own.

Washcloth Bunny

Last but not least, I'm bringing back a little guy I shared in the olden days of the first month of this blog. I added a little tail there that I'm not doing today, so you can check that out there. All you need is a washcloth, a rubber band and a piece of ribbon to get started.

A small egg fits nicely on his back, which would be fun to fill with bath crayons or soap. I like that you can take him apart after the holiday and still use the washcloth. By the way, this idea also works with cloth napkins to decorate your Easter table.

There you are, and not a chocolate bunny or Cadbury egg in sight! I'd love to hear your ideas for filling those Easter eggs while keeping the level of sweets below DEFCON 1.  

Cross your fingers for me today!

Chain Maille Bracelet–My First Attempt

I am not, by nature, a patient person.  If a craft is taking too long to finish, I’ve been known to stop midway and hide it in a box.  If it makes it that far, it’s unlikely to ever see the light of day again, unless I decide to part it out for something else.  But once in a while, I lose interest but leave it where I can see it every day.  That stuff usually gets done at some point because the one thing that’s greater than my impatience for lengthy crafts is my impatience at staring at something half-finished. I love chain maille jewelry.  I kept looking at it and thinking “It’s a bunch of metal hoops – how hard can it be?”  I finally decided to give it a shot and bought a couple of bags of rings and bracelet closures.  I only used one bag, and not even the entire thing.

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I didn’t buy the instruction book, but instead came home and looked at photos of bracelets online and decided I knew how to do it.  All I needed was a couple of pairs of pliers.

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I used a small, padded quilt pressing mat and some stick pins to hold my work down.

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That, my friends, is where I stopped.  In March.  However, I left it pinned to that board and I’ve been looking at it ever since.  Today was the day to finish.

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I really like the closure.

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My only regret is that it bunches together a bit, rather than keeping its shape when I wear it.  I still like it though, and will wear it anyway.  After all, it did take me three months to make.

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If you know of any good chain maille tutorials out there, send them my way.  I’m ready to try again…with a little guidance from someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

Great big THANK YOU to reader Sarah for sending me this link to Beading Daily, where they just happened to outline how to start a chain maille piece today!

Friday Favorites–Gifts for Guys

June.  Father’s Day, graduations and anniversaries of all those weddings from previous Junes provide the perfect opportunity to show that guy you care with a homemade gift.  I know, some of them are nearly impossible to shop for, much less make crafts for.  But I’ve come across a few things that might make your life a little easier.

I’d love to see the tools that would fit in these super-tiny Altoid Tin Mini Toolboxes from AlphaMom.

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Some rope, two wooden rods, some duct tape and the appropriate tools and you can make him a Duct Tape Hammock like this one from sitzikbs on Instructables.

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Stormdrane and his paracord creations are always a favorite around my house.  This Snake Belly Bar Bracelet is next on our list to try.

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My brother-in-law likes to play chess with his boys and one of these days I’m making him this Hardware Chess Set from Dollar Store Crafts.

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Chess isn’t his thing?  How about a Custom Tile Checkerboard like this one from Aly & Ash?

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This Popsicle Picture Puzzle from Impress Your Kids would be a fun project to make with the little ones.

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Before you decide he’s not a bouquet kind of guy, check out this Beef Bouquet from Moms of All Trades.

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Sometimes, no matter how many great ideas come your way, a gift card is just the right thing to give.  That doesn’t mean you can’t craft it up.  Try a Shirt Pocket Card from Holiday Crafts and Creations.

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So, you’ve completely given up on making something?   It’s ok, this Magic Wand Programmable TV Remote from ThinkGeek is just awesome enough to make up for it.

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Before you give up the crafty idea completely, you have to see my favorite Favorite this week.  TSJ Photography made this fantastic sign using her kids to make the letters.  I seriously should have had more than two kids.

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My Birthday 2011

Today is my birthday.  I won’t go into which one this is for me, let’s just say that in high school I danced to most of the songs from Glee.  Anyway, I thought I’d share my little wish list with you again, even though I’m still waiting for my titanium spork from last year. 10.  I’ve had my eye on these framed photos of letters for at least a year.  I’m thinking about trying to photograph my own, but if not I’ll be visiting Uncommon Goods for their version.  The hardest part is figuring out what I want to spell.

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9.  I love to read, even though I don’t have as much time to do it as I’d like.  My favorites are sci-fi, fantasy, mystery and even a little horror.  I’ve wanted to read the Game of Thrones series since they started advertising the new HBO series based on it.  Maybe I’ll just give up sleep.

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8.  Remember when you could actually rest the phone between your ear and shoulder while you were talking on it?  Well, I do.  I miss being able to multi-task while I talk.  Now the phone either slips or I hang up with my cheek.  Retro Bluetooth Handset from ThinkGeek to the rescue.

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7.  We were in Seattle a couple of years ago and I saw a typewriter key bracelet in the window of a jewelry store.  I’ve wanted one ever since.  Luckily for me, they can be found on Etsy, like this one from HauteKeys.

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6.  Let me start by saying I cannot pull these off.  I don’t have the right shape.  However, we saw a woman wearing these ruffled pants in a capri length at Crafty Wonderland who looked fantastic in them.  The fact that these, from SweetassDesigns on Etsy, are red and black makes them even better.

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5.  I mentioned last year that my best ideas come to me in the shower.  My second-best ideas come right before I fall asleep, creating a need for the I Can’t Sleep Journal from Uncommon Goods.  It would work perfectly with the light-up pen I keep in my nightstand.

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4.  Since I have a couple of different books listed here, I’m going to need something to hold them up.  Enter James the Bookend from the MoMA store.  And his twin, to hold up the other side.

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3.  I work from home, so I don’t actually need to carry my lunch anywhere most of the time.  However, I love these Bright Tiffins from Twine so much, I’m going to find an excuse.  I might use them to carry it out to the back deck.

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2.  A local boutique had some cowboy rain boots last year that I was completely in love with.  I never went and bought them, and I regret that.  I live in Oregon.  If I could ever justify a shoe purchase, it’s rain boots.  Even though the ones I really wanted are no longer available, I think I could bring myself to substitute these from Amazon.

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1.  This is the one thing on this list I can guarantee I will have on my birthday.  I saw it last week when I was working on my cookie post.  I already told my husband and daughter all about it.  The supplies are in the pantry and they are going to make it for me.  This thing is a brownie, cookie dough and cake bit of heaven.  Thank you Cookies and Cups for providing the nirvana that will hold my candles this year.  I’ll be in touch again after I come out of the sugar coma.

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Friday Favorites–Bracelets

I love bracelets.  That’s probably obvious, considering I’ve covered paracord, recycled T-shirt and braided leather versions and included a couple of them in my Quick and Easy Gifts on Friday Favorites .  I don’t usually wear them much this time of year because I’m completely cold-blooded and can’t even think about short sleeves until at least May.  But there are so many cute ones out there, and we need time to get them made, right? 

I love the simplicity of this Button Bracelet from Little Miss Momma.  I could make this without even going to the store.  That’s always a good thing.

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I keep trying to get my daughter to make one of these Soda Can Tab Bracelets like the one shown here from CraftyPanda.  Another user on the message board suggests a product for painting the tabs.  Go look…they did red, my favorite!

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I have to try these Yarn Bangles from Keely’s Korner.  A few basic bangles and some cute yarn and I could have them to match everything I own, including a few scarves.  My kind of jewelry.

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How about a gift of money and jewelry at the same time?  Sounds extravagant, doesn’t it?  This Money Bracelet from Under the Table and Dreaming makes the idea a little more accessible.

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You know I’m a sucker for repurposing old jeans.  This Denim Bracelet from Mich L. in L.A. makes me want to go tear a pair up.

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This is cute.  It just is.  Find the instructions for this Fun Circles Wrist Cuff at Crochet Spot.

I want to try making a Chain Maille Bracelet like this one from Ellifolks.  I just need to get together all those rings.  And I need them to be in colors.  No problem, right?

I love these Fabric Cuff Bracelets from Etsy seller Ponder and Stitch.  Check out the ones with embroidery.  So pretty.

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I’m sure this zipper fad is winding down, but I still like them.  I’ve had my eye on this Zipper Bracelet from Cut Out and Keep for way too long.

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This last bracelet, called Lederschleifenarmband, is from a German blog called Maikitten.  Of course you can translate it, but there’s really no need.  The photos tell the whole story.

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I have a new tutorial I’m excited to share with you next week.  This post might give you a hint as to what it is!