By Rachel Hoeing and Joy Blaser

Time to get crafty!  Joy Blaser is a stay-at-home mom to Elizabeth (10) and Finn (4), and stepmom to Paulie (11) and Philip (8).  Joy has an incredible blog called You know how we’re an art family… and I would love for you to take a peek at the ultra-creative projects she paints, draws, and constructs with her children.  We chose three of her projects to showcase on Triad Moms on Main today.  They are all fairly simple, so even if you are not “an art family,” you can be one today!  Enjoy these spring crafts from Joy and her kids  …

Lemon Treats

A liquid sunshine treat is the perfect way to spring into a beautiful spring and fortunately spring is full of beautiful, and edible, flowers to decorate your treats. Begin by squeezing the juice out of 6-8 lemons, using a lemon squeezer to retain the shape of the halved lemons.  You want to have 1 ½ cups of lemon juice when you are finished squeezing.  Set the empty lemon halves aside and dissolve 1 ½ cups sugar in 2 cups of warm water to make simple syrup. Add lemon juice, simple syrup and an additional 5-6 cups of cold water to a jug or pitcher to make your lemonade.

Head out to your yard or flowerbed and find enough edible flowers to fill your lemon halves placing one flower in each half. You can find a list of edible flowers here.  Flowers in the viola family, violets, pansies, johnny-jump-ups, make the perfect contrast.

A mini-muffin tin is the perfect vehicle for holding these lemons upright so the lemonade could freeze in them.  Place one lemon half in each cup of the mini-muffin tin and place a flower in each lemon half, unless you have some children who prefer a treat without a flower.  Pour lemonade into each lemon half and find a flat place in your freezer to place the muffin tin until the lemon halves are frozen.  Enjoy on a warm spring day while frolicking in the sunshine!

Shadow Boxes

“I’m bored.” Those dreaded words that no parent wants to hear when they are up to their eyeballs in a task of their own. But I do want my kids to feel the grasp of boredom occasionally, because without it, they might not become the creative people they could be. On Sunday, when most of the members of the family were otherwise engaged, my oldest 2 children uttered this very phrase…more than once actually. Knowing they sometimes need a little push, I hinted at an idea for them, and they immediately raced out to the garage looking for the perfect cardboard box, as I knew they would.

They cut the bottom out of a cardboard box leaving about 2 inches all the way around the bottom to tape a piece of wax paper inside.  They then gathered the supplies and characters they would need, including a flashlight, to make their story come to life.  By placing their characters on stands high enough to get them above the bottom ledge of the box and shining a flashlight through the wax paper from behind, their story in shadows appeared before our eyes.  You may find them using and reusing their shadow box on boredom-filled days.  So many opportunities abound with a flashlight, a cardboard box and a little imagination!

Rainbow Dancing Ring

In looking for spring break crafts, we deciding to make a rainbow dancing ring with some wooden rings we had leftover from another project.  Dancing in the beautiful spring weather is so much more inspiring with a ring full of rainbow ribbons!  We bought some rainbow ribbon from Joanne’s for $1 per color and cut strips of ribbon about 4 feet long.  You can adjust the ribbon length for smaller children.  We didn’t have any rainbow beads or beads of all of the rainbow colors, so we just decided to use some red wooden beads at the end of each rainbow ribbon. I don’t think the red beads detract from the rainbows though.  You just want a bead of some variety to add weight to the end of your ribbons.

To make the decoration on our ring, we used a wood burning tool.  (Wood burning tools are inexpensive at most craft stores.)  You can alternately make markings with a sharpie or even leave your wooden ring plain.  The rainbow ribbons provide enough decoration! We tied one end of each ribbon to the side of the ring, in rainbow order, of course.  Then we tied the beads to the other end of the ribbons.  You can dab each knot with a bit of glue for security.

Dancing rings are the perfect accompaniment to music and movement classes, and add great awareness to space and motion.  Perfect for indoor or outdoor play, but watch the spring fairies, they might find your dancing ring to beautiful to resist!