Science Themed Graduation Party

Post by Colleen of Lemon Thistle

Science Themed Graduation Party

Let’s face it. Throwing parties can be stressful (with a capital S), but they can also be a ton of fun. A couple of weeks ago we traveled 8 hours by car to celebrate my little sister’s university graduation. She’s a ‘super nerd’ (we lovingly call her) and she graduated with an Honors degree in Cellular Molecular Biology and a Chemistry Degree. I wanted to throw a little graduation party for her to invite some friends to visit with our family while we were in town and celebrate her incredible accomplishments. After telling her to invite her friends over I realized a few things. I had NO idea what her house looks like… is there a good place to put a party table? I had NO room in our car (filled with playpens and snacks for our twins) to pack bunches of decorations but I really, really wanted it to be fun and special for her. PLUS, my sister is my biggest blog fan and has talked me up to all of her friends so I felt like I really had to make it look good.

So I set to the internet to find some ideas for adult science graduation parties and came up pretty empty. Then I came across this Fundamental Party kit from The Land of Nod and decided that was my solution. Since I’m a DIY’er at heart, I decided I’d DIY a science themed backdrop to go along with the decorations. I used black dollar store table cloths to cover the table and wall so I didn’t have to worry what kind of wall/ decorations I was competing with. That wall is actually brown/tan with nails sticking out of it… the backdrop covers it all! I had my sister write equations and diagrams in chalk pen on the table cloth for a chalkboard look. I created some molecules using painted Styrofoam balls and barbecue skewers for something a little extra. I’m so thrilled with how it turned out and it was a ton of fun to get to know her friends a little bit.

Science Themed Graduation Party

Nod Science Party-15061110 Nod Science Party-1506118 Nod Science Party-1506114Here’s some tips to throw a stress-free (but beautiful!) party no matter where on earth you are:

  • Find some awesome pre-made party decorations. Paper and plastic make for a fast clean up!
  • Get a table cloth and backdrop- again, disposable is best!
  • DIY a couple handmade touches ahead of time that you can toss when you’re done (like my molecules, or a centerpiece)
  • Bring everything you may possibly need (I learned the hard way that not everyone stocks tape in their house- save yourself the stress!)
  • Have food either prepped ahead of time or choose ready made options (we hit the grocery store when we got to town since we were traveling on a hot day)
  • Keep it simple – don’t get too fussy, you and your guests will enjoy themselves more if you’re not running around asking them to tape up last minute signs and arrange flowers.
  • Focus on one area – you don’t need to spread decorations around a whole house for a fun party. Make a great table and relax about the rest!

I hope these tips will help you have  a stress-free party (no matter where you are!), they certainly helped me pull this off in 45 minutes in a house I’ve never been to. Do you have any tips for a simple (but fun!) party? Share them in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Colleen is a wife, Mama to 21 month old twins, and the DIY and lifestyle blogger behind Lemon Thistle where she shares printable art and hands on tutorials for DIY home decor, parties and gifts. Colleen believes you can have a beautiful life, home, and party without spending a lot- we’re keeping it real on a budget so everyone can join in on the fun.

DIY Father’s Day Gift – Felt Catchall

Post by Rebecca of Not So SAHM

DIY Father’s Day Kids Craft - Felt Catchall

By some stroke of luck, both of our kids learned to sew at school this year. Now I’m into lots of different arts and crafts, but sewing just isn’t my jam. So of course they both decided they wanted to sew their dad a present for Father’s Day. I racked my brain to think of something simple that was also useful and (*lightbulb!*) I came up with the idea to make Dad DIY felt catchalls. He really needed several containers to hold the daily contents of his pockets and I wanted something that wasn’t going to scratch all our new furniture. So these were perfect! I think he’s going to love them (and his new-found ability to rapidly find his wallet, keys, and security badge in the morning).

DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall

To make our DIY Father’s Day Gift – Felt Catchall, you’ll need:

  • 2 sheets of colored felt (we used 9″ X 11″ sheets from a craft store and cut them into 9″ squares)
  • 1/8 circle hole punch
  • Colored embroidery thread and a needle
  • Ruler
  • Black marker
  • Scissors

And here’s how you make it:

  1. Cut your felt sheets into a square. DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall
  2. Using your ruler, draw marks onto the corners of your felt where you are going to hole punch (I did this prep work and the kids jumped in at the sewing stage). You’ll need to gather the corners of your felt in two spots, so you will be marking for four holes:- 2 holes, each 1.5″ from the corner of the felt and 0.6″ from the edge- 2 holes, each 1.5″ from the corner of the felt and 1.25″ from the edgeDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall
  3. Use the punch to make each hole as marked. I did this on one corner and then folded the felt in half and marked the opposite corner. Then repeated for the remaining two corners. You’ll be able to mark all four corners, but only have to measure once. Punch the remaining holes. Lay punched felt on top of second piece of felt. Using the holes as guides, mark where you’ll need to punch on the second piece. DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall                                                  (folding to mark the same spot on the opposite corner)DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall

  4. Thread your needle. Gather one corner and sew through the closest two hole punches several times. Tie the ends into a small knot and clip. Repeat for the two holes closest to the felt’s edge, looping the embroidery thread over the top as you sew. DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt CatchallDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall
  5. After you’ve done one corner completely, show your kiddos and help them do remaining three corners. Voila!

We’re wrapping our felt catchalls in The Land of Nod’s fabulous suitcases — the best reusable gift wrapping for this delicate present!

DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt CatchallDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt CatchallDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt CatchallDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt CatchallDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall

Rebecca is a mom to two young kiddos and, in her spare time (ha!), likes to pretend she’s a back-up dancer, craft cocktails, and run long distances. A relatively recent SAHM, she blogs family-friendly activities, DIYs and celebration fun at Not-So-SAHM.

DIY Pinball Machine

Post by Candice Blansett-Cummins of The Wishcraft WorkshopKids Craft - DIY Pinball Machine

Our Wishcraft Workshop team had full-tilt fun launching into summer with little Chicagoans at the Land of Nod store this past weekend and the kiddos did too! We used mechanical “pinball machines” to play with fancy topics like gravity and conservation of momentum in a colorful and playful way.

Let’s keep this fun going and turn stuff from around your own house into a STEAM learning and playing adventure by making your very own DIY pinball machines, shall we?

But first, what is STEAM? STEAM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Wishcraft Workshop makes it their job to make STEAM stylish and fun all year long.

 

To make your very own DIY Pinball machines, the first thing you’ll need to do is grab an Art Jar from The Land of Nod. Inside you’ll have just about everything you need in one (cheery) reusable plastic jar. This project uses small parts and little-littles should be supervised when building and playing.

Kids Craft - DIY Pinball Machine

DIY Pinball Machine Supplies

  • Corrugated cardboard (we suggest a rectangle at least 8” x 12”)
  • Sticky glue
  • A clothespin, popsicle stick and two spools (or two things of equal size about 1” tall)
  • Some push-pins and rubber-bands
  • Something small and round like a large bead or a marble
  • Stuff! Bottle-caps, pom-poms, pipe-cleaners, buttons, wooden spools, googly eyes, sequins, small toys,
    caps from old colored-marker pens.
  • Optional- plain or pretty paper to cover the cardboard and popsicle sticks to make a decorative backboard.

Make It Up

  1. Prepare the base – draw on the cardboard or cover it with colored paper.
  2. Build the launcher – clip a clothespin to a rubber-band stretched between two spools (glue these on to the
    base) and held in place with a popsicle stick affixed to the top of the spools. Done!
  3. Install the edges – gently stretch rubber-bands between push-pins inserted around the perimeter of the base. Use a little glue if needed to hold the push-pins in place.
  4. Add fun stuff against which the ball will bounce, travel around or pass under.
  5. Give your machine a name and make a backboard with popsicle sticks and paper.
  6. Play!wishcraft

Add To The Learning!

  • Assign numbers to the machine’s parts: how many points does each launched ball earn?
  • Elevate the back end of the base using objects of different heights: how does this change the speed of the ball when it launches and returns?

Kids Craft - DIY Pinball MachineInterested in even more STEAM activities for your and your kids? Check out Wishcraft Workshop’s summer programs here.

Candice Blansett-Cummins is the Founder and Chief Giggle Officer of The Wishcraft Workshop. Candice is a parent, wife, friend, artist, teacher, and student.

Father’s Day DIY – Minimal Geometric Clock

Post by Lidy of Hello Lidy

Father's Day DIY - Minimal Geometric Clock

With Father’s Day just around the corner, we are thinking of ways to create handmade pieces that are truly one-of-a-kind for all the dads out there. Like this geometric walnut clock, which is just one of those ‘timeless’ gifts that last year after year. (Did you catch that?!)

Father’s Day DIY – Minimal Geometric Clock

Materials

  • Walnut Plywood
  • Oak block
  • Table Saw
  • Drill
  • Sand Paper
  • Clear Acrylic Spray
  • Clock Works

Directions

  1. Cut a block of wood or buy from a craft store. Setting your table saw blade to a height of half the thickness of your board, cut a kerf down the center of the block. It might take a couple passes until you reach the thickness of your clock face. Sand, wipe clean and set aside.Father's Day DIY - Minimal Geometric Clock
  2. Use a 1/4″ plywood and cut to shape and size you want for the clock face. Sand, wipe clean.Father's Day DIY - Minimal Geometric Clock
  3. Drill  a hole in the center of your clock face where you want the clock works to go.Father's Day DIY - Minimal Geometric Clock Father's Day DIY - Minimal Geometric Clock
  4. Spray the stand and clock face with clear acrylic spray and allow to dry in between coats.
  5. You may choose to spray paint your clock works (we chose black). Place the clock works onto the clock face according to package directions.Father's Day DIY - Minimal Geometric Clock
  6. Place your clock face into the block stand and enjoy!

Father's Day DIY - Minimal Geometric Clock

I love the minimalist look with this clock. It’s also a sculptural piece that adds a nice touch to any shelf or desktop – don’t you think? I don’t know about you, but I have the hardest time finding things for the men in my life because they either have more than they need and never hint at anything which would make things so much easier!! But this clock Father’s Day DIY gift is truly sentimental, based solely on the fact that we took some time to make it by hand for a very special guy. And I think he is going to love it!

XOXO, Lidy

Lidy is the face behind Hello Lidy: a blog focusing on creating and cultivating unique spaces that integrate original handmade designs and vintage pieces while keeping up on current trends and designs. Lidy and her husband have three adopted toddlers.