Kiwi Crate is a Box o’ crafty fun!

March 14th, 2012

a package!

When I first heard about Kiwi Crate I was skeptical. I’m just not a craft-kit kind of person. I love crafts but I like to invent my own crafts and nothing steams me up more than seeing something I could have invented myself all wrapped up in a box for sale. I know, it’s stupid but I have a thing about kits. Most of them out there are lame. Cheap wooden parts that you color with crappy marker pens that run out…don’t even get me started. The end result is just trash that you don’t know where to put and by the time you complete a project your kid is soooo attached to it that you’re forced to let it sit on some shelf for half a year mocking you. I’m sorry. I just don’t like the stuff. It’s cheap crap.

Kiwi Crate is different. I clicked around on their website and right away I was impressed with the quality of images, the thought that went into their design and concept. They explain it well and I was sold. It’s a grade A product that even a craft snob like me has give credit to. It’s a really great concept. I’ve had people tell me I ought to do something like this for years and the truth is I never got around to it. I tried to but I just never had all the supplies ready with nice instructions etc etc etc.

Basically, Kiwi Crate is a monthly subscription service for kids. Every month your kid will get a small shoe-box sized package in the mail (addressed to them) filled with two or three hands-on craft projects. Sometimes they are science related, sometimes just art, sometimes imaginative play. They are dedicated to sparking childrenís natural creativity and curiosity. Each project is designed by moms, reviewed by child development experts, and, of course, tested by kids. Color me impressed.

nice packaging

As a designer I love the packaging. It’s clean and simple. It’s easy enough for a five-year-old to understand but I found myself hovering with just as much anticipation as Bug as she unwrapped the box. I love the logo. So cute!

unwrapping

checking out the goods

It was like Christmas unpacking all the fun stuff.

yay! crafts!

Bug was jazzed. She even got her own pair of kid-scissors that actually work and don’t hurt her fingers.

simple instructions

As you can see the instructions are super fun and easy to read. They also include little prompts to get your little one’s brain asking questions. This would be excellent for homeschooling.

easy does it

The first craft was a stained glass frame using contact paper, a cardboard frame and small squares of colored tissue. I didn’t have to do a thing. I just helped her unwrap the packages and sat back and watched. That’s not how the crafts I usually invent work. No, I’m usually up to my elbows in glue helping and she’s either jumping up and down shouting that she wants to do it all by herself or she’s off somewhere else in the house while I micro-manage a project that was supposed to be for kids but ended up being for me.

stained glass artist

It really made me happy to see her puttering away so contentedly.

ta-dah!

And of course the end result was pretty cute.

let's do this!

But that wasn’t all. There were THREE crafts in this box! Three! Of course we had to do all three of them in one day because we are crazy crafting freaks but I imagine this would be something nice to savor over the months. Perhaps even something to use as bribery when certain children don’t want to get their chores done in a timely manner.

coloring

The second craft was a spinning top with interchangeable paper tops. It was a fun little lesson in color and how you can make different shapes spin into a blur of a completely different color.

rainbow spin

I’m partial to the rainbow one she made.

arranging

The third craft was a little color-dye tote project. Using the leftover tissue squares (which I loved, waste not want not and all that) Bug arranged a cute little heart and then added water with a dropper that was provided.

adding water

Bug loved this craft. Water always steps things up a notch or two in the fun category. And it was surprisingly not that messy even though instructions warned that the tissue could potentially stain clothing. We didn’t stain anything. This was the most tame “messy” craft I’ve ever done. Which was great. No mess! No fuss! And when you’re done you just put all the leftover supplies back the box and close it up. Throw it away or keep it around for another day. I love this.

box o' fun

tie-dye tote

And the tote came out pretty good too! So that’s the story. I think this would be really cool as a gift from a grandparent or even just supplemental educational activities for home. I’m actually probably going to sign up for this myself. It’s twenty dollars a month which is a tad on the expensive side for my budget but I think I can spring for it. The products are quality and I can totally see Bug counting down the days until the next box comes. It’s sweet. Subscriptions can be ordered month-to-month, annual, or gifted to others at www.kiwicrate.com. Also, additional materials can be purchased for siblings. Check it out!


Tea Collection

March 12th, 2012

detail

I am the worst reviewer ever. Bug received this beautiful dress from the Tea Collection almost a year ago and I never got around to taking photos of it and writing about it here. Part of it was my fault for ordering the dress a size too large and waiting for Bug to grow into it…and then there was the weather and the fact that this review had no deadline. I just never got around to it! I am the worst when it comes to deadlines. If you want me to get something done, give me a deadline.

tea collection

Look at this dress! Isn’t it the cutest?!! Of course Bug is a well-trained model and looks good in everything but really, everything from the Tea Collection is darling and beautiful. I urge you to click over and peruse.

jumping dancer

I’m sad to say that because I waited so long to write about this dress it is no longer available. They’ve moved onto Bali. Which is very pretty also and I may just order Bug a few things from their latest collection. This dress was from their Mexico collection.

flowers

It’s super well-made and durable. You could wear it to church or play rugby in it, it could handle both. Not that Bug is into Rugby or anything but she does play hard and she likes to be feminine so this dress is perfect for her.

virtual shopping

I’m a happy customer! I think I’ll be buying dresses from the Tea Collection for many years to come. By the way, they make clothes for moms too! And boys and babies…Check ‘em out!


Make and Takes for Kids: A Book Review

February 6th, 2012

Make and Takes for Kids

Being the artsty fartsy mom is great but sometimes I just want to take a break and not be so artsy fartsy. I hate to admit that but it’s true. Sometimes kids come over to my house and they look at me with these big eyes as if they expect me to bust out some kind of super-fun project at the drop of a hat. If I don’t start something they start crafting by themselves with glue and post-it notes and before I know it there is a mess on my dining room table because my house is the crafting house and that’s what we do here!! Don’t you know?

But secretly, between you and me, I don’t always feel like it. I get tired of cleaning up messes, I get tired of shopping for supplies. I don’t always have the best ideas. GASP! And I’ll admit that but I’m not always 100% on. You know? Sometimes I’m buried under my own deadlines and worries and sometimes I’m just tired. Sometimes I’m NOT the fun mom. It sucks.

I’ve never bought a craft book before because that would be cheating right? Just like I can’t buy cute greeting cards at Target because I know I could make them (but I never do. blaah.) But when I heard my friend Marie Le Baron had a book out and she offered to give me a free copy if I reviewed it, I jumped at the chance. And now I know why other moms buy these sorts of books!! It’s awesome!!! Seriously, every craft in this book was super simple, didn’t require any crazy trips to the craft or hardware store and I could pretty much give the kids the book let them go!

It was actually really nice.

February

This book is divided up by months and each month has four seasonal crafts. The photography is beautiful and very helpful for explaining each step. This is great because children can really do it all by themselves instead of hollering for me every five seconds. Though I admit I was hovering because I can barely stand any crafting going on and not be in the middle of it too.

taking notes

Bug made the Rainbow-Colored Cooling Fan all by herself the first day we got this book.

easy fan

fan she made all by herself

She thought that was the bomb.

reading the recipe

And then later the neighborhood kids came over and made Snowman Smoothies.

ready

adding milk adding chunks of coal aka brownie

long-nosed snowman

So simple and so yummy!

yum!

My reputation as the funnest-crafting-mom-in-the neighborhood is still intact and I didn’t have to do any work!! In fact, I think the kids really enjoyed that I let them pick what craft they wanted to do instead of setting them up with something I had already master-minded. It was a win-win!

So if you are looking for some simple crafts to get you and your kids through those long afternoons, I recommend this book. I love it. I think you will too!


Blooming Baby Winner!

January 7th, 2012

blooming-baby-winner

Congratulations Brea! Looks like you’ve won a pink Blooming Bath Flower for your little girl! Watch your email box.