Easy and Cute Teacher Gift!

Teacher Thank You
Hi!
The kids and I got crafty for Teacher’s Appreciation Day and we wanted to share it with you.  I saw this on Pinterest (of course) and had to try.  The post I saw used shadow boxes, but that is way to pricey for my budget so we used canvas instead.  Here is what you need:
  • Canvas (I used 8 1/2 X 12 at $7.99 for a 5 pack)
  • Crayons (2 boxes of 64 count total $3 a box)
  • Glue Gun and Glue Sticks (I already had these)
  • Rope of ribbon of your choosing (I used rope I had)
  • Paint (optional) we used Dot Paint for a pretty finish
Because 3 of the things used are standards in my craft room, we spent a little over $1.50 per gift. Not bad for a days work!
First print or draw the letter you want to use as a guide for your product on a sheet of paper. Copy that same letter onto your canvas.  I cut the printed letter and used it as a stencil so they matched.
Second start arranging your crayons to fit the letter and cut them to size.  I just used a sharp knife, but you can use a small electric saw if you have one and are comfortable using one.  I am not, so I stuck to what I felt comfortable with.
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Once you know how you want them, start transferring them over from your sheet to your canvas and gluing them with your glue gun. I recommend doing one at a time. I tried to make a line and quickly setting more than one to go faster, but the glue dried before I could get them over.  Oops!  One at a time works better for me. Because I had to to them this way, I didn’t let the boys use the glue gun this time around.  Way to easy to burn your fingers when you are holding the crayon.  Not much room for error, ask my fingers.

Transfer Letter to Canvas

Once they were dry, I gave the leftover crayons to the boys and they went to town on the canvas. Here is where our Spanish Lesson came in.  We reviewed our alphabet and then named the letters we needed. We reviewed our colors as they picked their crayons and named the ones that were glued.  They also got to count the amount of crayons used. Learn & Play, I say!  
They loved the idea of drawing with crayons around crayons for their favorite teachers.  Sweet Boys!  For the finishing touch, we used the dot paint to make the pictures pop. 
4 letters finished
Once everything was set, I glued a piece of the rope to the top for hanging. Wrapped them up and Ta-Da! Pretty gifts!

Final Teacher Gift

You could do everything in a day (though the cutting was the must time consuming task so be prepared for that).
Hope you like it!  Happy Teacher Appreciation Day to all of the Fabulous Teachers out there Past and Present!  
Hugs to you all! 

 

Super Easy Halloween Crafts

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Hello!

Halloween is almost here and my boys couldn’t be more excited! They have been wearing their costumes since we got them for them and have been busy creating some of their own.  We have also been doing my favorite thing…getting crafty! Yep, you can never have too many crafts! Here a few super simple crafts and ideas for your last minute Halloween fix.  

Paper Skeleton Costume

My oldest wanted to be a skeleton one day, so I searched on Pintrest for an easy to make costume and came across a million ideas, of course.  Here are a couple of super easy ideas for the skull and another for the rest of the skeleton.

Skull from Red Ted Arts

What you need:

  • Paper Plate
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • hole punch
  • Pipe cleaners or something to tie with
  1. Follow the middle circle on a paper plate with your marker to make a horseshoe shape. 
  2. Draw two half circles on both sided of the horseshoe
  3. Draw lines on the grooves at the bottom of the plate for teeth
  4. Draw circles for eyes and an upside down heart for the nose.

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5. Punch holes on both sides and tie a pipe cleaner or string through it. 

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Body

For the body I found a printable template on Poofy Cheeks that was perfect.

What you need:

  • printer
  • paper
  • scissors
  • black marker
  • tape
  • kids in dark clothing 

I just printed two for both of my boys and cut out the shapes.  I wasn’t about to cut each individual bone, so I just colored in the blank spaces with a black marker. Perfect for people that want to be a little crafty but don’t have a lot of time.

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I hand drew the arm and leg bones myself so I could make them the right size for my littles.

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Finally I taped them to some dark clothing, added the mask and the skeletons were complete!

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SPIDERS!

I wanted some spiders to hang on our fake spider web, but I wanted them to be extra special. I solicited the help of three very talented artist (aka the fam) and a spider family was born.

What you need:

  • pipe cleaners
  • pom poms
  • googly eyes
  • glue gun (with glue sticks) or regular glue
  • scissors
  1. Cut and shape the piper cleaner to the sizes you want the legs to be.
  2. Let your imagination run wild. Glue the legs to the pom poms and add eyes.DONE! 

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Paper Plate Ghosts

This one is fun for little hands, too!

What you need

  • white paper
  • white paper plates
  • tape
  • white party streamer
  • markers, crayons or paints
  1. Trace your little ones hands or have them do it on a white piece of paper
  2. Cut out hands
  3. Tape the cut outs to the back of the plate where you want the ghosts hands to be
  4. Make the ghosts face with whatever you fancy
  5. Add streamers to the bottom of the plate. Tape to the back of the plate.
  6. Say boo!

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Here are some easy food decorating ideas.

Quesamummy! 

What you need:

Tortillas

  • cheese
  • olives
  • any other filling you would like on your quesadilla
  • edible marker (optional)
  • a stove or microwave
  1. Warm up one tortilla for each person being served
  2. Flip to warm both sides
  3. Remove from heat and cut into strips
  4. Warm up another tortilla for each person being served
  5. Flip
  6. Add your filling. We did ham and cheese.
  7. Let cheese melt and then remove from heat.
  8. Add your strips of tortilla on top leaving enough space to see through and leaving the smallest strip out. 
  9. Cut round pieces of cheese and place where eyes would be
  10. Cut olives in half to make eyes and place on top of round cheese
  11. Draw a smile on the little strip you didn’t use and add as mouth.  Easy peezy! I added tomatoes and cucumbers to the plate just to make it a bit healthier.

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Sandwich Art

I am that cheesy mom that send decorated sandwiches to school.  Although my art skills could you some work, the boys really enjoy them.  I’ll keep on doing it until they tell me to stop or I don’t find it fun any more, whichever comes first.

What you need

  • A sandwich (duh)
  • edible markers
  1. Draw to your hearts content.  Just remember your canvas is pretty small so don’t try to get to detailed unless you are crazy talented. It’s not easy to show too much on bread. Here are a couple of examples.

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There you have it.  This is how I’ve been keeping busy these days.  What crafty things are you up to?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Easter Maracas

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Sorry for the last minute post, but I wanted to share a quick an easy craft for all of those Easter Eggs you may have laying around.

Easter Bunny Maracas

I love the fact that my boys know what maracas are and that when I asked them if they wanted them to make Easter Bunny Maracas for their friends, they were so excited. Everything that I used I already had at home from previous art projects.  I know you can make them match better if you go out and buy supplies in the colors of your choosing, but for this post I used what I had at home.  I hope you enjoy.

What you will need:

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  • Plastic eggs
  • Tape
  • Wire cleaners
  • Plastic spoons
  • Markers

Optional

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  • Eyes
  • Glue Gun

I had some light blue spoons left from M’s first birthday party. Yes, he is 4 and I STILL had the spoons.  I may just be a pack rat.

I also already had some red painters tape left from the boy’s last bday party.

Everything else I had in my craft room already.  They are pretty much standard in my house.

  • First you fill your eggs with whatever you choose. I was lucky enough to find a bag of plastic eggs for sale at Target that were already filled with candy. But if you have some empty eggs you can fill them with uncooked rice or beans. They are perfect for making music.
  • Fold a pipe cleaner into small bunny ears to the size you like. I bent them at one end so I would have plenty left after it was taped to make a tail.
  • Place the egg on the spoon, put the ears into position as well and start taping.
  • Roll the end that is left into a little tail.

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  • Next I glued the eyes onto the egg. If you don’t have eyes, you can have your kids draw some on with either paint or permanent marker.

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My trick for getting the eyes on without accidents or mess is to place the eyes upside down on a hard surface first. Put a dab of glue on the egg. Carefully press down onto the eyes where your glue is to pick up the eyes. This makes it so much easier to do for me and my little helpers.

Once you have it all assembled, you can let your kids draw the faces on.  This was great fun for them.  They don’t really get to play with permanent marker for obvious reasons (mainly because it is impossible to wash, especially on their face).

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There you go, sweet little bunny maracas.  Have a Happy Easter!

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You can make all kinds of little creatures using this same technique.  Stay tune for a follow up post on that.

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it in our new website http://www.bilinguazo.com/blog.html and on Facebook. We are now also on Pinterest. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter. Thanks a bunch!)

9 Kids’ Valentine’s Day Crafts

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Hello!

My latest post on AMB is up.  Please check out these fun crafts to do with your little ones.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids

Shadow Puppet Fun

Shadow Puppet Fun

Nighttime has become a beautiful routine that my husband and I really enjoy, hopefully so do the boys. My husband reads stories to M first. “The Magic Treehouse” is the current favorite series and no night can go on without some chapters being read. While they do that, I read stories to Travis which he picks from our collection. He loves so many, it’s hard to pick a favorite. It might be a couple of Dr. Seuss tales, some good board books along with at least one book in Spanish which he also chooses. After we are each done with the first kid, we switch.

My new favorite thing to do with M nowadays is shadow puppets. It started innocently enough. I would make the shape of a bunny with one hand and then the bunny would leave and a bird would come to visit shaped out of two hands. Then someone gave him some eyeballs that you can wear as ring, so then the bunny and the birds grew eyes. Not the most comfortable for my fingers, but he loved it. I decided to Google (yep, my go-to) shadow puppets. I was amazed with how many options there are. My favorite so far has been this:  “Handmade Charlotte”

I didn’t have time to print out the free downloads, so I drew their shapes freehand and cut them up out of construction paper. Finally, I glued on lollipop sticks and tah-dah, shadow puppets:

shadow puppet 1

Not bad for drawing them myself from the shapes on the site as well as a few from my own mind.

The night I presented them to M, he was so excited. Our night time routine has increased in time a little, but I’m ok with that. It gives me a little more time with my boy. I am even taking them into T’s room and we play with them a little after stories and before our songs. I would recommend you making your own. It’s so fun to pretend. And it makes for great quality time. We are even naming the animals in Spanish which is a plus.

Go have some fun with your babies during the daytime or at nighttime. Cherish every minute even if you only have a flashlight to lead your way.

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(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. We are now also on Pinterest and Instagram. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

Music Motivates Us

Music Motivates Us

Music is our motivator. I have written a lot about how music has helped my children learn Spanish and how it has helped me teach it to them.  Even if we still have a ways to go, we are trying. Here is fun little bit about our love for music and movement.  Maybe nothing to do with Spanish, but we can find a way to work it in.

A friend of ours sold me some tap shoes a while back. I decided to save them. I thought I would start M in tap lessons one day and I would give them to him then.  But then I realized he’d probably outgrow them before we got around to finding lessons.  That is why we decided to give them to him for Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day).  He loved them so much that he wanted to watch movies with tap in them.

Yay, another call for classic musicals, my favorite.  I popped in “Singing in the Rain”. He already knows the songs and now can dance along to the tap numbers. Such fun.

Here is a little happy tappy clip for you.

Well, since M was having so much fun, T wanted some also. I didn’t have any for them and couldn’t really go out and buy any so we improvised. I Googled (is there any other way) and found ideas on how to make your own.  Here is what you need.

  • Glue or Glue Gun
  • Pennies
  • Old shoes (that still fit, of course)

Glue the pennies to the top and bottom of the soles of the shoes and ta-da, tap shoes.  IMG_6476IMG_6477

He’s only 2 so it didn’t take many pennies.  I put 3 at the top and one on the bottom.  The google pics I saw had many more, but were for bigger feet. You can decide how to get the most bang for your…pennies.

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I think I may have to look at tap classes for both soon.

Have fun and musical day!

“Ojo De Dios” Craft

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I was looking for a fun craft to do with my kids that would also teach them some Mexican culture.  I have seen the “Ojo de Dios” or “Eye of God” all of my life so I decided that was the perfect craft to do with my kids. The origin for this artwork is from the Huichol Indians of Mexico. It was made by the father when a child was born. Each year a bit of yarn was added until the child turned five and then it was complete. A child surviving to five was a big accomplishment for parent and child and something to be celebrated.  Celebrating children is something I love to do, so this craft seemed great for the holidays.

I love to crochet which means finding yarn is not a problem in my house.  We also have kept quite a few chop sticks in the kitchen because we love to eat. The only other things needed were glue and a marker.  I have kids, so I have glue and markers everywhere. No home with kids would be complete without them. 🙂

Here is what you need:

  • Pairs of sticks the same size (popsicle sticks are the most popular, but chop sticks work, too)
  • Marker
  • Glue
  • Yarn
  • Scissors

Steps:

  • Before you even start, glue your sticks together to make a cross. Let them set and dry for at least a day. Having the cross already set makes it easier for little hands to put the yarn around.

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  • Number your sticks so they look like this

Cross Pattern

  • Now wrap your yarn in an X pattern around the center to cover the middle of the cross then begin to wrap your yarn one time around 1, one time around 2, one time around 3 and one time around 4. Make sure you go over the sticks each time so they front is always flat and the back has the curves like so.

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If you do not follow the same pattern, they will look like this (not very pretty):wrong

  • Continue to wrap in order until you feel your first color is wide enough to be the eye. Cut the yarn, leaving about an inch hanging in the back side of the cross.
  • Start same process with the second color, third and fourth.
  • wrap 2 wrap 3
  • Once you are done, you can tie the loose ends in the back together with the closest end to it, just to keep them tight and trim off the rest.
  • tie back

And Ta-dah! You have yourself a beautiful “Ojo de Dios”

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Had to also make one with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, green and white) which happen to work great for holidays as well.

Had to also make one with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, green and white) which happen to work great for holidays as well.

Full disclosure:

My kids are 2 and 4.  Anyone that has little ones knows that crafts can get messy or not come out at all like you expect.  I tried to get my kids to help. They were enthusiastic at first, but as soon as they realized how fun yarn is to throw, the craft was out the window (along with the yarn). It made a great wig, though.

wig

My oldest did help more and actually sat with me for a while trying to figure it out.  M helping

This activity is better suited for older kids. Although, I feel having younger kids watch you make things and get crafty as well is a great way to teach them details, as well as your love of your cultures and traditions.

First attempt:

I also thought it would be fun to have a hunt for the sticks we used.  The hunt was great fun, but the final product came out a little lopsided as the sticks were not straight. 

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It was still fun going on a hunt, though. My point is to try to have fun with whatever you have and make your own adventure!

Have fun crafting and Happy Holidays wherever you are!

Yummy Empanadas

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Cooking has always been one of the best ways to learn and bond with my family and in the Mexican culture as a whole.  There is something very special about spending the day with the people I love and preparing a meal together.  I want my kids to learn all about my culture and our favorite meals while helping in the kitchen.  I want them to always feel comfortable in the kitchen so when they are on their own, they can take care of themselves and keep the culture alive. Not too long ago, I wrote a post about how I love to teach my kids new things in the kitchen called Being Bilingual is Delicious.  Today, I will share one of our favorite recipes mentioned there with you that is so easy to make and works great with pretty much anything, especially leftovers. Here is our version of a simple empanada.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (keep oil handy for brushing on at the end)
  • Any filling you like (beef, chicken*, cheese even fruit: this is all about what your family likes)
  • Any spices you like (I like paprika and oregano for savory empanadas, sugar and cinnamomn for sweet ones)
  • Water
  • Baking sheet
  • Baking spray or non-stick foil

*This recipe is for already prepared proteins: grilled, baked or fried chicken or beef for example.  No raw meats as the will not cook in the time it takes to bake the dough.

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Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350⁰
  • Place your flour and tablespoon of oil in a bowl
  • Add a pinch of your favorite spices. I try not to add too much so that it doesn’t overpower the filling.
  • Mix and add water little by little until you get a soft dough
  • Add flour if it becomes too sticky
  • Roll out and cut out circles any size you like (not too big now, don’t get crazy). If you prefer, you can make little balls first and then flatten them.  My kids prefer this as it gives them more time to play with the dough.
  • Place your circles on your baking sheet that is either covered with nonstick foil or sprayed with baking spray
  • Place filling on one side of your circle making sure to leave enough room around the edges to seal
  • Fold over the side without filling to cover
  • Using a fork or your thumb press down around the edges to seal making sure not to poke through the dough
  • Brush on side facing up with oil
  • Bake for 10 minutes on one side
  • Flip and brush more oil on opposite side and bake for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from oven, let cool a couple of minutes and Enjoy!

Notes:

  • This recipe isn’t just fun for little hands to help with (let them get messy, that’s part of the fun) but it is also great for leftovers. Just make your dough and stuff with whatever you have in the fridge. It’s a great way to serve food in a new way to keep little tummies from getting bored with a meal.
  • We always add cheese to ours just because we love cheese, so any leftovers become little pockets of cheesy and baked yumminess. Now who can argue with that? (Rhetorical question, no need for debate. 😉 )

I hope you enjoyed reading this and get to try it soon.  What do you and your family do together to help share your culture and traditions while having fun?

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(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

Halloween Pumpkin Dilemma? Let’s talk turkey

Silly turkey
We are not pumpkin carvers or pumpkin eaters, so buying pumpkins in the fall is probably a silly thing for us to do. But we do it. The boys love to decorate them and they do make the house look more festive for Halloween. But then what do you do with them? It seems wasteful to throw them away if they are still good. Do you also have decorative pumpkins that you bought for Halloween, but don’t know what to do with them now that Halloween has come and gone? Here is a fun little craft for kids to do to get more use out of them just in time for Thanksgiving.

Turkey Pumpkins

Materials

  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paper Plates (or something to pour the paint and glue for little ones)

I have two kids, so the instructions are for two pumpkins (have to keep it even to avoid conflict).

First I cut out 4 white ovals and four smaller black circles to make eyes, four brown wings, two elongated heart shapes to make the wattles and a bunch of different colored feathers. They don’t have to be perfect (I know mine aren’t), in fact, the sillier the better.

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I squared off a piece of yellow paper, folded it diagonally two times and cut out 4 triangles. I then rolled each triangle and taped it as a tube with a pointed end. Then I put two tubes together to make the beak. On the non-pointy side, I cut several slits and folded them over to the outside so that you can use those ends to attach to the pumpkins. I finished them off by inserting their wattles.

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I did the same thing with black paper, but made regular tubes out of rectangles instead of triangles. After I taped up the tubes, I cut slits and folded them over the same way to make it easier to attach them. I have a corner punch to round out corners (not sure what it’s called) so I used out to make the hat a little rounder.  You don’t have to do that, though, I just like using it. 🙂 I cut a little strip of brown for decoration and voila, a pilgrim hat!

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I took my little feathers, made a fan and stapled them together so the kids didn’t have to mess with that. I forgot to take a picture before, but here is the finished tail.

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That is all the work you need to do.

I set up their craft area, so when they came inside from playing they could see everything ready to go.

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I let the kids paint their pumpkins however they wanted. Once they were dry, I gave them all of the cutouts and glue. They had a blast making their turkeys come to life. And I must say, they came out SO cute!

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There you have it, another use for your pumpkins. I hope you liked my little craft. Happy Turkey!

 (If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

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Mini Calaveras

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One of our Day of the Dead Crafts this year is mini skulls. Since it took me so long to get started, I decided not to spend any money and see what I had at home.  Last year my mom brought me some super cool lollipop molds with Calaveras on them. Instead of making sugary treats that would make my kids bounce off the walls even more so than they do without any sugar, I decided use them to make paper mache skulls. Using my mom’s engrudo recipe (homemade paste), I decided to test it out and see if it worked. It did!

Here is what I used.

  • Water
  • Flour
  • Cut-up newspaper
  • Candy mold

Steps

  1. Put a pot of water over low/medium heat – since they are tiny molds, I only used one cup of water.
  2. Add flour one tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency. It should look like a creamy soup, or if you know Spanish food, like Atole. Don’t overheat or it will stick to the pot.
  3. Let it cool.
  4. Once cool, brush on to your newspaper pieces and place the wet pieces into the mold.IMG_2901
  5. When you fill your mold, let it dry overnight. I left mine in the sun all day and brought it in at night to dry indoors some more. The next day, I removed them from the mold and they came out so easily. What a relief.

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6. I painted them white with some acrylic paint my mother-in-law gave me (thanks, Bonnie) and let them dry.

IMG_29007. Once they were dry, we used permanent markers to decorate them. You can add more to them, of course, it’s your creation! We decided to keep them simple this year. Next year, I’ll give myself more time and make them super decorative. Oh, and don’t forget to trim the edges. I left that until the end, but you can do it right away, too.

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Now that I know this works, I will make them much prettier next time around. I cant wait to paper mache something else! It’s a great way to get the kids involved, too.  Let them get messy. What else can I make?

I hope you liked my craft! Have a Happy Halloween and Feliz Día De Muertos!

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Here is our finished altar. Thanks for the papel picado, Veronica Zavala, for the inspiration, Magui Talan and for the love of tradition, Margarita Talan De La Rosa.

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)