Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Archaeologist Party Attaché Cases

For each birthday party I throw I like to put together some sort of gift bag for the kids. For the cowboy party we did "loot" bags, treasure map bags for the pirate party, for the circus party we used popcorn bags... you get the idea. For this party I wanted to give the kids some research materials on ancient Egypt and archaeologist tools like a notebook, magnifying glass, brush, etc. I decided that these items would all fit nicely in a "leather" case - kind of like Indiana Jones' messenger bag, but not so complex.

Materials: manila folders, masking tape, clear tape, brown paper,
scissors, craft Velcro, and hot glue (not pictured).

The brown paper I used came in a big wrapping-paper roll ($1 at
the Dollar Tree). I rolled out enough to fit the width of my folder plus
about 2 extra inches on each side. I positioned the folder a few inches
away from the nearest edge.

First fold: bottom. Fold about two inches of wrapping paper over the
bottom edge of the file folder and secure with masking tape. Make
sure you have your folder centered in the brown paper.

Second fold: Sides. Fold both sides of your paper over and secure
with masking tape.

Secure the bottom corners with clear tape.

Top fold: This section will serve as the flap on your attache case, so
make sure you leave several inches (about 4) of doubled over paper
above the top edge of the folder. Secure with masking tape.

Use clear tape to seal the sides of the "flap" together.

Fold the manila file folder along the crease. One side (the back/flap
side) should be about 4 inches longer than the other side (the front).
Use clear tape along the sides of the folder forming an "envelope."

I decided that the attache case needed a clasp. A quick rummage through
my crafting supplies revealed this yellow craft Velcro. This particular
type of Velcro has a very low profile, which means it's not super
sticky -- which is good because otherwise opening/closing the case
would tear the paper.

I cut the Velcro to size and secured to the case with hot glue. Be careful
not to burn yourself!

Ta-da! Simple, academic, elegant. Everything an archaeologist could
want. Hopefully...

Several of the finished cases. I got the tiny composition books 3/$1 at
guess where... that's right. Dollar Tree. I printed out some labels that read
"Field Notes - Giza, Egypt" and affixed them to all the notebooks before
putting them in the cases. I am still finishing up the archaeology notes that
will be included but they do have a key to decoding hieroglyphics inside.
Wish me luck on getting everything else finished! (I need it!)

I'm thinking about putting each kid's name on a bag, but I haven't gotten that far yet. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mama Made a Mummy

As you may have heard, I am planning an archaeologist birthday party for my kid who is turning 7 in about a week. At this particular event we will be simulating an Indiana Jones archaeological adventure in Giza, Egypt. One of the components of this adventure is an excavation of a forgotten tomb. I have procrastinated for way too long on some of the party props, including this project.

One reason I have become such a crafty cardboard lover is that I am also one who not only pinches pennies but tries to stretch them out until they become paper thin and turn green. That's right, I'm budget-minded (Read: cheap). So when the cheapest skeleton I could find to make my mummy out of was $30 at Oriental Trading (that's what I get for needing Halloween stuff out of season), I decided I would have to resort to Plan B. Three guesses, and the first two don't count. That's right, I decided to make a mummy out of cardboard.

These were my main supplies: some plastic hangers from the kids' closet, toilet paper rolls,
a plastic skull from last Halloween. I also had corrugated cardboard, cutting implements,
and hot glue on hand.

I used side-cutters to remove the bottom part of three of the hangers and glued all four
together to make the ribs. I attached some paper towel rolls to the bottom of the hanger
using the clips to make the femurs.

Toilet paper bandages. I sewed the headdress and beard piece on my sewing machine
and attached with hot glue.

I sketched out the remaining bones on a sheet of corrugated cardboard with a sharpie.
Arm bones (including shoulder blades), leg bones, pelvis, hands, and feet. As you can tell,
I worked hard to make sure these were anatomically correct. (Smirk.)

I often recommend using a serrated steak knife to cut cardboard, but because of all the curves,
Mama broke out the big guns. This is my handy-dandy Xacto knife kit the hubs got me a few years
 ago. I used the second blade from the left.

I had an audience asking questions and commentating the entire time I worked. Lord, please
grant me patience.

After all pieces were cut out, I assembled them with the hot glue, which BTW is my fave
glue for working with cardboard.

Toilet paper wrappings kinda conceal the artistry (double smirk), but there's a good chance
the archaeologists will decide to unwrap the mummy when they perform their examination.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Picture This: A Barbie Doll Fireplace Upcycle


I picked up this little picture frame at a thrift store yesterday for $3. I immediately
 had an idea of how to use it: Barbie doll fireplace.

The molding around the top makes the perfect mantle and the little frames
that slide out make doors that open up to the fire inside.

I cut some scrapbook paper to size to line the "doors". 

A Google search for "fireplace" came up with a great image for
the interior of the fireplace.

My kid found the printer to be fascinating...

Cut to size, insert in frame... and voila!

Barbie couldn't wait to relax beside the fire! And the great thing about this
fireplace: it can be moved from room to room and dollhouse to dollhouse.