Bee and Bea joined forces again (six years and counting) to support books, reading in the community. However, with SO. MUCH. going on these COVID times, we decided to focus the efforts internally and not add our usual call and crowd funding ask to the mix. In 2020, the Bb’s supported Virginia Mason’s Bailey Boushay House. Coloring has been a big part of their creative outlets, so much so Ms. Bea was Bob Ross for Halloween. The two curated a huge collection of coloring books and implements for clients and families that utilize Bailey Boushay House services. Shameless plug! We used Fakequity’s Bookshop affiliate link (thank you to a friend for founding!) to order adding to the good-deed-ness (support indy bookshops and Fakequity’s own book drive.)
It’s never to late to join us either of course (is it really calmer right now?) – donations via this link go directly to Bailey via the Virginia Mason Foundation (501c3).
Just for Funsies – Here is one of our current kid book lists – let us know some of your favorites.
In 2019, #beeisforbooks morphed into #Bbisforbooks because with two ‘Bs’, there is more than double to celebrate now. They supported the Program for Early Parent Support (PEPs), raising $840 – this org is near and dear to our family.
In 2018 – more bees joined the fun in supporting Bailey Boushay House! More links to past: 2017, 2016 (twice!) and 2015
Bee and I did it – after years of eyeing a variety of DIY tutorials for marbling paper with shaving cream, we made 100+ holiday cards marbled in mostly reds and greens or blues and yellows. The anticipation of how the swirled color will reveal itself on the paper is the best part. Swirl a lot or a little. Time lapse at the end.
Cheap shaving cream, white foam only, no gel
Paper (blank cards, sheets etc)
Bowls, Droppers or oral syringes
Mat or surface to scrape off the foam
Spatula or knife to smooth
Something to scrape with
Damp rag for wiping hands, tools and work space
Spray foam into sheet pan and spread to fill and smooth (like frosting). Somewhere from 1/2 to 1 inch in depth is plenty, especially if you want to change up colors etc.
Prep bowls of color/dye. I added a little water to thin it out just a little (not a lot as it will warp paper).
Add colors using droppers, oral syringes, straw, pipette or how ever!
Swirl the colors in – chopsticks worked great.
Put paper done firmly onto foam but do not submerge. Then peel/pull off swiftly and get ready to remove foam. you could put a few down at a time in the pan but be quick.
Scrape off the foam and reveal the design. I did the scraping on a silicone mat but a counter or cutting board etc will work, just watch the dye.
Let it dry.
Options for next step: Repeat step 5 OR smooth the top of the foam in the pan and repeat step 5 OR go back to step 3 and add more color or scrap out the foam and start again at step 1. You could also spray some extra foam on top of the foam you just used to get a clean layer and go from there.
Show off your designs.
Remember that a lot of colors mixed together make grey/brownish
Thin layer of shaving cream foam in a jelly roll or quarter sheet pan is perfect. You do not need inches of this stuff
Pastry tools like the frosting spatula and dough scrape are very helpful
Have a discard bowl for used foam after scraping off paper
Do not let the foam sit on paper very long to avoid it being too wet
You can re-smooth foam in the pan after transferring color and add more, just remember that the colors will start to mix.
Work quickly to avoid colors mixing *unless you want that effect.
I love a simple isosceles tree silhouette. It is not fussy to cut, feels fresh from fall through winter season and can be used in many different ways from garland, mantle decoration, bunting, table runner or gift wrapping. You also have the opportunity to use the word isosceles, which you probably never thought would happen back in the school days. Felt garlands are also a great craft idea for groups looking to create something together; just a few steps and none really requiring any special skill or tools. And since it is 2020, you could do this all on Zoom, sigh. I will put some tips and ideas for variations at the end and if you create your own drop a picture or link in the comments.
Felt Garland Overview
Decide on a shape
Make a pattern to trace.
Trace and cut out the shape
Prep the shapes either to sew or glue
Save the scraps!
For Tree Garland –
Felt, 4-6 sheets (~ 9 x 12 inches, per sheet)
Two felt triangles per tree
One small felt rectangle (tree trunk)
Craft glue, scissors and/or rotary cutter, ruler
Buttons or sequins
Twine, yarn or ribbon, cut into desired garland lengths (e.g. 7-8 feet)
Trace and cut out felt triangle trees that are about 3-4 inches in height and 2-3 inches wide. For a group project last year, I did make a tree pattern (laminated paper) for a group project last year, so that they were consistent in shape when cut by multiple people. approximately 12 large trees per 6 feet or 18 small trees per 6 feet.
Cut out trunks. It is easy to cut a strip and then cut in to shorter lengths forming rectangles. Play around with different widths. No need to make a pattern or get to exact here.
Pair up two triangles, trim if necessary to have the edges match or remove any errant pen. Pair up different colors too if you like.
Glue a rectangle at the middle of the bottom edge between the two tree pieces. Eyeball it, don’t measure.
Glue the two triangles together. Suggest craft or Elmers’s glue and in a thin layer so that trees don’t dry lumpy. Leave the top points of the trees free/not glued together (maybe about 1/2 to 3/4 inch). This is where the string will be glued to form the strand of garland.
Plan out your spacing along the twine. I like to leave 8+ inches on either side for tying or hanging. If putting 12 trees over 6 feet, space them every 6 inches.
Hot glue is the easiest gluing the trees to the strand as it dries the quickest. Place a small dot of glue inside between the two trees and lay the string/twine in the glue then press the tops of the trees together.
Once trees are connected to string and dry, you can glue or sew a button or sequin to the top of the tree. You could also bedazzle the heck out them with glitter or puffy paint but I wanted a more plain aesthetic.
Buy or plan to use more felt than you will, so that you can have variety and scraps for other projects.
Play with colors or white felt for completely different looks. Most of my trees are different colors on front and back.
Mix in fabric with felt on the back.
When cutting out traced shapes, cut on the inside of the drawn line so that no ink shows when done.
If cutting two layers at a time with scissors, I suggest pinning them to hold them together.
Make the shapes over-sized or mini for different looks.
Scraps Rock! They are useful for other projects (e.g. ornament, baubles etc) or can be recycled in my Ridwell bin (love mine!)
A friend asked me for some ‘stroller friendly hikes’ in the area to make the most of the waning days of summer. I never hiked with a stroller but have logged a lot of miles with my littles in wraps, packs and side by side over the last 6+ years. What follows would be good for new hikers with shorter legs, those with waning gumption in the face of elevation or just looking to get out versus something more taxing. I’ll keep adding to this and please put more in the comments too. WTA is a my go-to for information (and donate if you can!), Hike it Baby (find your local group, donate if you can!) is awesome for support, tips and meet ups and I have found the book 60 Hikes within 60 Miles-Seattle a good resource.
Stroller Friendly Hike Ideas (last updated 5/21)
A mix of multi-use trail, board walks, flat and wide trails and some that others have noted to be stroller friendly. Some require a Discovery Pass or NW Forest Pass/National Parks Pass but many are ‘no charge’ as they are part of county trail systems, city trail/parks etc.
Lincoln Park: park down by Fauntleroy Ferry and enjoy the waterfront. You can also hike in the upper wooded park part and drop down to the waterfront path but some of the options have stairs so not fully ‘stroller friendly’
Schmitz Preserve Park (West Seattle) – no formal parking lot (just street) but easy/flat/wide trails and small creek etc to keep it interesting
Dead Horse Canyon (near your old house), also called Lakeridge Park
Highline Botanical Gardens
Kirkland Waterfront Park
Redmond Watershed Preserve – one of our favorite locations. Several loop options.
Coal Creek Trail – many starting points
Evan’s Creek Preserve – park and start at lower trail, lots of trail options. The upper trailhead might be harder with a stroller to start
Bellevue Botanical Garden- lots of variety in terms of landscaping, flora etc
Mercer Slough Natural Area: loop trails and several parking areas. We like parking at Visitor/Education Center and doing Bellefield Loop and Heritage Loop.
Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary
Tradition Lake loop – several loop trails and flat, stroller friendly with some interesting things to find and see along the way
Franklin Falls: maybe part is stroller friendly but it is not far, easy path, some incline, also pretty heavily traveled
Ashahel Curtis Nature trail: not far at all so just let him walk and read the interpretive signs along the way. It is beautiful, large parking lot and
Gold Creek Pond
Pioneer Park in Mercer Island – it is not one of my favorites (just nothing all that interesting) but it is close. Watch for stinging nettles.
Meadowbrook Farm – its not bad but wouldn’t necessarily recommend, it was a bit boring and the stroller part is basically a side walk. There was when we went a herd of elk but you couldn’t see them from the stroller-accessible part
Iron Horse Trail/John Wayne Trail Train tunnel – intersting and doable with a stroller but the tunnel is 2+ miles long so it is dark, a bit creepy (if you let it get to you or watch too much TV) and for a short bit you can not see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ (again just don’t get all cerebral about that). A fair amount of people use it (bikes, hikers). Bring lots of flashlights/head lamps. It also is cooler in there, a little damp so nice for hot days or late starts but do bring a jacket or layer.
Snoqualmie Valley Trail: it’s 30 miles long of mixed use. Lots of sections to try. We love the Tokul train trestle and short tunnel. Park at NE 60th and Tokul Rd in Snoqualmie and head west on trail about a mile. Wide, flat well maintained.
Rhododendron Botanical Garden: You do need to pay a small admission but it is lovely (at all times of year, even if no flowers) and lots of paths to follow. https://rhodygarden.org/
Dash Point State Park: probably not stroller friendly but it is a great park and you can also walk and play down in the water
Soos Creek Trail: multi-use paved trail, several places to park and enter
Maple Valley Gnome Trail: little gnomes fill a section of trails, big parking lot, lots of trails that link
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (we love this place!), mostly boardwalks through wetland/tide flats
Sequalitchew Creek Trail in Dupont: easy parking, partially paved then crushed gravel. There is a short train tunnel, estuary and rocky beach at the end.
Little Mashell Falls: Middle and Lower falls have maintained access trails, due the Middle one first its the most impressive and less steep to get to than Lower. Upper trail is not maintained but not completely impassable, the falls are smaller. Start from Bud Blanchard (a few other places to enter along that side)
Deception Pass State Park: so many trails and each section is really different
Bowman Bay, Lighthouse Point (just hold hands on the bluffs, go down to tide pools if water is out)
West Beach – sand dunes interpretive trail. So beautiful, unique, 850 yo Douglas fir, beach with beautiful round rocks and sands and waves
North Beach more protected but still awesome rocks, sand, can get there through the ampitheater if road is closed
Iron Goat Trail: we haven’t visited yet but it is an old rail way bed and WTA notes other have used a stroller
Dungeness Spit in Sequim: stroller friendly but know the last section down to water is pretty steep so I would roll the stroller down as you would have to just push right back up. Just walk it and then wander along the spit/beach/sand etc.
Tolmie State Park: several loops, not stroller friendly but easy, with some interest and a rocky beach access area
Iverson Spit: has a ‘hobbit trail’
Twanoh State Park
Tommy Thompson Trail
Whistle Lake- there are a lot of trails in this community forest, for stroller friendly chose trail #237 which goes straight there
There are also so many options up in the North Cascades, down south in the Columbia Gorge (but a lot of that area is closed due to covid) and further out on the Peninsula and ONP. I will need to come back and create a new section!
A few years ago, I started making a homemade ornaments for family. This year’s ornament is a (be)dazzling canning lid ornament. It is the perfect way to reuse the inner lids (that you can reseal) and if you are anything like me, you might seems always have more of the canning rings than jars. Hmm… if not they are easy to buy as well. Solid or single piece canning or regular jar lids work great too and can be a nice up-cycle option. You can keep the ornaments simple or really put a lot of effort into creating designs using combinations and placement of sequins, glitter, beads etc. They almost feel a little bit like a diorama. I was really pleased with the result, especially since glitter is the gift that keeps on giving. Kids of most ages can join in this activity. It might be easiest spread out over two sessions so that the glitter/glue on the backside can dry before working on the front side.
If using two piece lids, start by gluing the lid to the ring. Run a line of glue around the inside of the ring and insert the lid.
Flip over the ring-lid, using a paint brush cover the exposed part of the inserted lid with glue and cover with glitter and or sequins. this is the ‘back’. I suggest letting it dry for a bit at this point.
On the ‘inside’ of the ring-lid, squirt in glue and brush it all around the lid, wherever you want glitter or sequins to adhere. On some of the ornaments I did it edge to edge, on others I wanted it to look like the glitter ‘pooled’ or was just more around bottom. apply the glue liberally so the sequins have something to stick in to and it gives a little depth. This will also ensure that the underside of the flat lid is completely covered. I had a few rings with rust on them, I made sure to pain those areas with glue so the glitter would hide.
Pour or sprinkle in sequins. Arrange them if you like and then pour in glitter to fill in all around them. this will make sure all the glue is covered.
You can gently tap out any excess on to a paper plate or piece of paper to re-use or just wait till it dries and then tap it out.
For some of the ornaments I wanted to glue certain sequins an beads along the edge to add dimension. I did this as a third step.
Once all dry, tap out all the glitter etc again. You can keep reusing!
Cut a long piece of wire or fishing line, wrap it around the outside of the ring, crossing it a few times at the top and then creating a loop with the ends. This will allow you to use an ornament hanger etc. you could also tie ribbon around the outside to make a loop or just glue on an ornament hanger.
Enjoy! please share photos is you make these.
They make excellent last minute gifts or early school dismally day activities. Happy Holidays!
Need a quick maybe even last minute holiday treat for school? These candy cane trees are simple, only a few supplies needed and the kids can definitely help or maybe do all themselves. Have a little more time – embellish them with glitter, sequins, poms etc. I just free-handed a quick tree on a piece of junk mail. You could also let the kids color and decorate plain white copier paper and then cut out tree shapes.
tree pattern (just draw a simple one, even triangle)
glue or double stick table
optional, star paper punch
paper, I used lightweight scrap book paper
Simply, trace and cut out the tree shape and, if using, a star shape (or use star stickers or sequins). Make two parallel cuts in the approximate middle of the tree. Glue on the star, decorate the tree and then put in the candy cane. Add a holiday message to the back and it’s ready to gift.
My newly minted four year old helped glue the stars. But he ran out of attention and I ran out of time to decorate much more but am pleased with how they turned out.
Another fun, quick and easy toddler art activity – bowl-y bugs. Not a specific insect per se, but you could certainly do red and black lady bugs, yellow and black bees but I really like letting my little guy chose his own colors and be creative.
Paper bowls or plates
pipe cleaners (or fuzzy sticks now a days)
paint brush or sponges
scissors, glue, tape
Poke holes in the top (aka bottom) of bowl for antennae (future step) with a pen or scissor blade. You can also make holes after painting but I found this a little harder to do.
Paint the bowl upside down. I did use a little blue tape to affix it to table so it didn’t slip around while being painted, aggressively at a times. Mix or layer colors, add stickers, such as dots etc. This is the fun part!
Glue or stick on google eyes.
Cut pipe cleaners, bend them into your favorite antennae shape and insert into holes.
Try to contain yourself (or small ones) while they dry. They can be stacked, turned into a story, taped on the fridge (bug attack!) or made into hats. Share photos if you make any.
When done, pull off the eyes and antennae and compost or recycle!