Need Some Free Inspiration? How about a Book Giveaway!

What? Monday’s post, Get Outta Here and Go Outside, didn’t have enough suggestions for things to make and do with your kiddos during the school break? You’re STILL scratching your head wondering how you’ll make it through those long summer days? Never fear. The Handmade Experiment is here with TWO books by Rae Grant, full of activities for you and your kids to do together. Hey, there’s even some they can do all on their own. Just think, you might have fun AND get that lazy summer afternoon you’ve been dreaming of all winter. Sounds good, right? Well, let me tell you, Rae was kind enough to send me a copy of Crafting Fun: 101 Things to Make and Do with Kids and it has simply been a joy to read.

Organized by seasons, it has both crafts for young children to do with an adult or older sibling and also activities just right for kids in their early teen years. Some of my favorites include Autumn’s Tin Can Lanterns and Halloween Silhouette Cut-Outs, Winter’s Glitter Pinecones and Invisible Ink, Spring’s Paper Sled Kite and Mother’s Day Potato Print Cards, and Summer’s Spider Web Catching and Pressed Flowers. These are crafts that I either remember doing as a child myself, or wish I’d gotten to do. Am I the only one who secretly enjoys doing the kid’s crafts as much as the kids themselves?! Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you don’t.

Hardbacked and spiral bound, this book is a beautiful trip down memory lane. Some may even spark your mother’s or even grandmother’s memories! Everything from the “This Book Belongs To ________” front page to the vintage-inspired illustrations, is lovely and inspiring. I’m planning on using several of the Summer craft activities for Q’s birthday this July. We did egg carton seed planting for PZ’s birthday party in February and that was a big hit. The Paper Hats, Paper Gliders, Parachutes, and Pinwheels would all be great party activities and if you use recycled paper and materials (which you know I will!), you’ve got cheap, eco-responsible party favors as well. That’s what I call crafty!

Second in Rae Grant ‘s Fun book series is Cooking Fun: 121 Simple Recipes to Make with Kids. It mirrors the Crafting Fun book in its beautiful illustrations, lie flat spiral binding, and impressive ability to introduce classic recipes/activities in a way that is both accessible and inviting to modern kids. There are definitely recipes I know PZ and Q will love trying this summer. Already a fan of Lemonade, the Lemon-Limeade is a sure thing. Others, like Gwen’s Fruit Smoothie and Lemon Fizz, Thick and Quick Barbecued Drumsticks and Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, Icebox Cookies and Strawberry Shortcake, are recipes every member of the family can help make AND enjoy. There’s also great sections on Kitchen Basics, Equipment, Cooking Terms, How to Measure, and even Greening Your Kitchen.

This is a cook book good for tots to teens that is full of classic, feel-good American dishes that all have been kid tested and approved. Rae Grant is a talented author and artist, but she is also a Mom. Perhaps that is why she’s written two books just perfect for helping your family spend some quality time together not only in summer, but year round.


So, what do you think? Are you interested in getting your hands on the Crafting Fun and Cooking Fun books? Here’s your chance. The lovely Rae Grant has kindly given me the opportunity to host my first giveaway – one of each of her books to one of my lucky readers!! All you have to do is tell me about the first handmade item you remember making or if you can’t remember that far back (ha!) how about the first handmade item you remember making with your children. Comments will be open until Sunday night (May 3) at midnight PST, I’ll use to find the winner and I’ll announce that lucky person on Monday along with a new Must Have list. Don’t forget to leave me your email so I can contact you!

For more chances to win – tweet, blog, link back, post on Facebook, Myspace, or any other social network site, or subscribe to The Handmade Experiment. Then just post another comment for each extra thing you did, letting me know how you’ve promoted the giveaway. Thanks and good luck!

*the contest is closed. Thank you for your great comments and lovely stories! I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow. Don’t forget to check out Rae Grant’s website for more summer fun crafting ideas!


64 responses to “Need Some Free Inspiration? How about a Book Giveaway!

  1. Jill spackman

    I can always use craft and cooking ideas for the kids. I can’t seem to come up with much on my own.

  2. I am fuzzy on what I even made first with my own kids! I know they adore making “jewelry” out of red licorice shoestrings, Fruit Loops, and Cheerios.

  3. It wasn’t first, but I do remember making a Christmas Tree with macaroni and other objects in kindergarten. We also made a handprint in plaster of paris.

  4. The first handmade item I made as a gift were polymer clay fortune cookies for a friend who collects fortune cookies. It was my first experience using stamps with polymer clay, too. Great fun, although to this day I still have the small stash of misshapen fortune cookies that didn’t make it into the gift box!

    BTW, I post a big list of book giveaways every Sunday on my blog, and yours will be on it.

  5. They first thing I can remember making by hand was a vase made out of clay for my mom when I was a little girl. She still has it, but it looks a lot more like a taco than a vase.

  6. The first handmade item I remember making was a small cross stitch sampler that said East, West, Homes, Best.


  7. rhubarbcrumble

    I had to knit mittens at Primary School (age around eight or nine) – I never did finish mine, so maybe that doesn’t count. Oh! I remember now, round about the same time, I made a pale blue soft toy cat for my wee sister when she was born. Designed, handstitched and embroidered its face myself! The neck of the cat was really skinny, so it fit in her little fist just perfectly and she used to totter around the house clutching it.

    Lovely looking books, so fingers crossed!

  8. I remember taking in a glass coke bottle to my kindergarden class. We used tissue paper and glue to cover the glass – our teachers must have lacquered the final product. Then we made crepe paper flowers on pipe cleaner stems! I think it was a Mother’s Day project – or at least is sounds like one! Good luck with your gift mission throughout the year… Salud

  9. I remember making a pencil holder from a tin can and construction paper:) My mom still has it! Thanks!

  10. OK, this is a tough one because I am the most uncrafty person on the planet (or maybe just in Portland). I remember making a sweatshirt in home-ec class in 8th grade and somehow I ended up with 3 arms.

  11. The first handmade thing I REMEMBER making is a x-mas decoration made of tissue paper glued to construction paper for my best friends mom. She still hangs it up every x-mas 25 years later!! God bless her for thinking of me all these years are one of her own:-)

  12. shannon Baas

    cards out of construction paper.

  13. I remember making a little plaster of paris craft using a paper plate as the mold and a paper clip as a holder. I filled it with smooth glass and a shell and stick. I think I made it in nursery school.

  14. Hey I agree with the handmade mission. My children’s hiking pants are handmade using recycled materials!
    I also have a home studio if anyone needs a great seamstress.

  15. I remember making a ‘quilt’ from my grandmother’s old neck scarves. I was always and am still always making something. I want to encourage my kids to do the same! Thanks for the chance.

  16. I remember making a clay rabbit in kindergarten. I loved the feel of the moist clay in my hands. Thanks for the chance.

  17. I think it might have been a wooden pencilcase in woodwork class when I was 12. It was quite crooked but I am sure I still have it stashed away somewhere!

  18. I remember crocheting Barbie clothes when I was about four or five.

  19. The first handmade item I can recall making is sewing my own pair of lycra shorts – bright blue baby! (oh the horror of the late 80s/early 90s). In my adult world, my first project was sewing some atrocious Halloween costumes – hehe ( if you want a laugh)

  20. Wow! I’ve been crafting something for a very long time. I remember my sewing passion was ignited in home ec. class in 6th grade. I made a latch hook pillow and went on to make my own monster floor pillow. And the fun hasn’t stopped. 🙂

  21. Linda Chaput

    I remember making a Flintstone mobile out of empty toilet tissue rolls and an empty box of kleenex.It was fun.

  22. Kelly Ann T.

    I made a pot holder for my mom for mother’s day.

  23. OK, I’ve made a lot of paintings and clay things in my life (especially since I was an art major in college.) But going way back the first thing I remember making (it must have been a kindergarten project) was this hideous pale pink ceramic ash tray. It was a pinch pot type of construction, very lopsided not so round and yes, glazed with a lovely pale petal pink. It must have been about 1980 and you know, parents smoked back then. The funny thing is, mine didn’t. So why I made an ash tray for them is really a mystery…. However, I will say that up until about 5 years ago (when they had their home remodeled) you could still find that hideous pink blob in the “everything drawer” of their kitchen.
    Ah, memories….

  24. My first project was a pillowcase dress for The Little Dresses Ministry my church participates in. Cut off a few inches of the seam end of a pillowcase. Cut armpits, hem with elastic, sew on straps and voila! So easy to make and people love them as baby shower gifts (using fabric instead of old pillowcases).

  25. Oh, that’s not including all the afghans I’ve crocheted for both adults and children/babies. I’ve crocheted since I was ten years old, when my grandmother taught me. I’m so happy to see that crocheting has caught on and become more popular. Again, baby afghans make great shower gifts.

  26. I remember being 6 or 7 and my mom had a HUGE bag of scrap fabric. She let me hand sew little skirts, blankets, etc for my barbies.

  27. Kelly Ferrari

    I don’t remember the first craft I made, but I do remember my favorite one. We would use pencil sharpeners on crayons and then take the shavings and arrange them inbetween two pieces of wax paper. My mom would iron it together and it would look so cool!

  28. Kelly Ferrari

    I subscribe in google reader.

  29. Anna Socrates

    The first crafts that I remember making on my own (not as part of a craft project that someone else directed) were in junior high. I made a scrapbook out of an old pair of blue jeans with lots of embroidery on it and filled it with beautiful pictures and postcards and photos (before “scrapbooking” was a commercial hobby). I had gotten a book out of the library about rudimentary bookbinding and I followed the directions and let my imagination run wild.
    Anna S.

  30. My kids and I took old crayons and chopped them up and melted them down in the oven. They then had new bigger size crayons that were multi colored. They loved there new crayons and enjoyed using them.

  31. I remember making a turkey out of my traced handprint in kindergarden.

  32. I got a little craft set that had a weaving loom (with pegs) that you stretched what seemed to be cut up nylons over to make a potholder. It also had a belt maker, which now that I think about it, is a little “flower” knitting loom. So, I made potholders and belts. Not sure which came first.

  33. christopher h

    pot holders for my mom

  34. Oh my goodness! How would l LOVE to have those books. Well – I remember making some various things with girl scouts and making those woven loop potholder as gifts, but I prefer to date my current love of crafting to just a few years ago when I discovered crochet – and made my mother the most horribly lopsided throw – which lead to knitting – which lead to sewing for my extended family, friends, and two daughters. I’m a hopeless fabric/sewing addict now and can’t wait to share that love with my girls.

  35. Susan Ledet

    The first handmade item I made was a pot holder with the old time looms.
    These look like fun books.

  36. I would love the chance to win,thanks.

  37. The thing I remember most making was a dress I made in HS Home Ec. I actually liked it and wore it. Of course now I don’t even hem!

  38. I remember making a handmade Christmas ornament as a child!

  39. I would love the cooking fun.

  40. I remember my mom buying me an embroidery kit. The first thing I made was a handkerchief. I was very young, about 5 I think.
    smchester at gmail dot com

  41. I remember making one of those God’s eyes in school. I still think those are the coolest things!

  42. I stumbled it for you (stumble name: quelleheure4)

  43. These books look great. The first handmade thing I made was a handbag tote. I think I made it when I was in highschool. I ended up majoring in Apparel Design and Cnnstruction in college. SO after that tote I made plenty of things from clothes to bags to crats. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  44. I subscribe to your blog.

  45. I made a scrunchie in Home Ec when I was in 7th grade.

  46. Molly Capel

    I still have one of the first Christmas Ornaments that I made in grade school. It is a paper glittery butterfly on a clothespin.

  47. I am a part time chef so I began cooking at an early age. My first item I baked may have been cookies. It was so long ago though so I don’t recall exactly. I have been cookign homemade meals for years. Thanks for the opportunity to enter your giveaway.

  48. My first homemade item was a pillow case. It was so fun to buy the fabric and come home and make my own creation. Thank you for the chance.

  49. the first one I remember making with my children is a hand plate

  50. kathy pease

    i made a blue flowered skirt in home ec it was HIDEOUS 😦

  51. I am a major fan of making my own. I have designed many clothes for clubbing, too many to describe. I focus more now on creating board games of all genres. For example, for my homemade Star Wars game, I took the blue prints of the Millennium Falcon and constructed it to scale, using the wire frame of an old fan, cigarette lighter and other random parts and painting it with acrylic and markers. For other games, I sculpt figures by melting various plastics with a small torch and cold water. Emily, I would be more than happy to list all of my creations. And I as well as my wife would love to know more about yours. I actually didn’t realize [remember] how much we have in common till I checked out your site. Keep it up my lovely sister!!!!

  52. I’m thinking it was one of those potholders you make with the mini looms 🙂

  53. Ketrina J.

    Wow I hope this isn’t too late??! So when I was 8 I loved making stuff with clay…I remember being really impressed with Greek pottery (weird I know!) so I made a clay pot that I painted with winged horses I thought looked like Pegasus ……yay! Lovely. My mom still has it….

  54. My first homemade item was a frog pattern apron:)

  55. I remember making a title ornament that was in the shape of an owl with Cheerios for the eyes and a pretzel for the body.

  56. I remember making a pair of overalls in home ec class.

  57. I subscribed to you feed.

  58. I tweeted:

  59. The first handmade item I remember making was a handprint in clay.