Valentines Day DIY: Free Printables For The Perfect Valentines Day

February 14th is a little over 2 weeks away, so the time to plan and craft is now! Whether you are celebrating with kids, or someone special we’ve collected some great resources from around the web to help you with decorations & cards. The best thing about these crafts is that they could totally work for other celebrations, like a girl’s birthday party. So grab your printer, scissors, glue, and craft up some love!

Printable Valentines Banner – This banner comes from the blog Feece Fun. How adorable is this banner? It would be great to use at home, or to decorate a classroom. This printable would make a great template for a birthday banner too!

Image & Printable from FleeceFun.com.

Valentines Day Printable Breakfast In Bed Kit – This printable kit comes from Design Is Yay, a great blog full of awesome tutorials and freebies. Such a beautiful little collection here! Breakfast in bed would be the perfect way to show that someone special just how much you care. Again this printable could easily be reused as a template for a birthday, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, etc. breakfast in bed!

Breakfast In Bed DIY Printable (and image) from Design Is Yay!

Printable Kid’s Valentines – These adorable valentines come from Ellinee. These animals are too sweet.

Kids Valentine Printables (and image) from Ellinee.

How do you usually celebrate Valentine’s day? Do you have a sweetheart this year?

Happy New Year! Looking Back to the Best of 2012!

Image from the Huffington Post.

Happy New Year to all our readers and supporters out there! It was a fantastic year in 2012, we were able to help bring joy and relief to hundreds of kids in San Jose during their birthday months. And in 2013 we hope to reach even more :). With 2012 behind us it is important to reflect back on what was good, so today we have our top 5 posts from this past year! You guys really like to craft don’t you ;)!

Make A Birthday Wishes Top 5 Posts in 2012:

  1. DIY Decorations: Paper Stars – A great tutorial for handmade paper stars perfect for a party or just because!
  2. DIY Party Decorations: Pennant Banner – Both fabric and paper options abound in this post!
  3. DIY Owl Crafts: Part 1 – Seriously adorable owl crafts at a variety of difficulty levels! Who doesn’t love owls?
  4. DIY Crafts: Button Bracelets – So simple and so cute. These make great little gifts or packaging additions.
  5. 3 Party Favor Packing Ideas We Love – And apparently you love these unique ideas too!

What was your favorite post this past year? And what would you like to see more of in 2013?

If you are interested in supporting what we do at Make A Birthday Wish or learning more you can go to our website by clicking here. Have a great New Year’s Day!

Our Top Craft Books For This Holiday Season

If you are looking for a unique, thoughtful, and purposeful gift for a friend or your children, why not give them a book? Books make wonderful gifts and today we have selected 5 of our favorite crafting books. So you can be sure that your gift will not only give the gift of knowledge but also help unlock the creative juices of your someone special! Several of the books we selected even feature “green” craft ideas and specialize in crafts suitable for younger kids! Onto our picks!

Craft-A-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects

This wonderful little gem is jam packed with tutorials and crafting ideas. Great for adults and kids alike, and a pretty good bang for your buck at only $16.47 on Amazon.


Drawing Lab For Mixed Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises To Make Drawing Fun

This book is perfect for both seasoned drawers and beginners. It will help reinforce good techniques and expand any readers’ artistic side. And with 52 exercises, the book lends itself well to a year-long self-guided study in drawing. Pick it up from Amazon for $15.63.

 

Green Crafts For Children: 35 Step-by-Step Projects Using Natural, Recycled, and Found Materials

This book would make a great gift to both kids and parents looking for ways to engage their children in the arts while teaching them about environmental stewardship. A great deal at $11.73 on Amazon!

 

Sewing School: 21 Projects Kids Will Love To Make

This book is fantastic if you are interested in teaching your kids how to sew and is available on Amazon for $11.53.

The Big Green Book Of Recycled Crafts

A great collection of crafts that reuse, repurpose, and recycle materials into handmade treasures. Just $3.98 on Amazon!

Do you craft with friends or your family for fun? What kinds of crafts do you do?

 

Have A Paper Holiday: 3 DIY Paper Crafts For A Homemade Christmas!

At MABW we love crafting, reusing, re-purposing, and putting a personal touch on special occasions. Today we’ve got 3 tutorials to share with you that will have you crafting most everything you need this Holiday season with paper!

DIY Recycled Paper Tree

We love this idea! Imagine using brown packaging paper, newspaper, or magazines to make mini versions of this tree? Can you say great centerpiece for practically nothing?!!!

DIY Tutorial for Recycled Paper Christmas Tree by Casa Sugar

DIY Tutorial for Recycled Paper Christmas Tree by Casa Sugar

DIY Star Wars Snowflakes or Garland

These snowflakes would make any nerd proud. Such a fun idea, you could try it with different colored paper too!

Free Printable Template from Matters of Grey

Free Printable Template from Matters of Grey

Free Holiday Gift Tags

These printables from Sass & Peril make adorable homemade packaging a cinch this holiday season!

Gift Tag Printables by Sass & Peril

Gift Tag Printables by Sass & Peril

Which is your favorite holiday paper craft? We are partial to the Star Wars Snowflakes 🙂

Our Favorite Cookie In A Jar Recipes

Cookies are amazing any time of the year, but fresh baked cookies at Christmas time takes amazing to an all new level. If you are looking for great cookie recipes to bake up for a party or searching for a great gift idea we think you’ll love these recipes we have collected from around the web. Some of the recipes even accommodate special dietary needs (vegan & gluten free).

Cranberry Hootycreeks from All Recipes

Cranberry Hootycreeks – Recipe from All Recipes.

These cookies look great in the jar and taste delightful. You could even change out the cranberries, chocolate chips, and nuts to suit your personal tastes. Dried currants, walnuts, & white chocolate chips could be a lovely combination! This recipe would make a great gift for a neighbor, coworker, or as a hostess/host gift if you are visiting family or friends over the holidays.

Julia’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe from All Recipes.

Chocolate chip cookies rank at the top of most people’s favorite cookie lists. Simple, chocolatey goodness. This recipe is very delicious and again provides opportunity for experimentation (different kinds of chocolate chips, or swapping chocolate chips for M&M’s etc..). If you aren’t sure what cookies your friend would want, chocolate chip is a safe bet.

Gluten Free & Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe from Oh She Glows

This recipe promises thin, crisp, and chewy chocolate chip cookies that even those on the most restricted diets can enjoy. But don’t get us wrong, these cookies aren’t really a compromise. They are kind of amazing. Angela’s recipe uses a mix of almond & oat flour to create this crowd pleasing cookie. Scroll to the bottom of her post to see the recipe!

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies From Oh She Glows

Gingerbread Men Cookie Mix In A Jar – Recipe from Food For My Family

These gingerbread men are tasty and adorable. We love the idea of attaching cookie cutters to the jar to really complete the gift! We love this recipe for a holiday staple! Shaina even included free printables—holiday gifting can’t get much easier!

Gingerbread Men In A Jar Recipe from Food For My Family

Have you ever given cookies in a jar before? What are your favorite recipes?

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DIY Decorations: Paper Stars

These awesome paper stars are an easy DIY party decoration, or great for everyday home decor! The materials are cheap and easy to find, and the tutorial we found makes the whole process easy as pie!

Materials:

  • Origami paper or other square paper, such as 12′ scrap-booking paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • String or ribbon to hang the stars

Instructions:

  • Follow this great picture tutorial for detailed visual step by step instructions!

Some fun variations include:

  • Using old newspapers or magazines to make the stars.
  • Mixing and matching sizes to create a pretty cluster.
  • Adding embellishments such as gems, glitter, buttons, anything your heart desires!

This craft is simple enough it could even be a fun birthday activity for the kids! Do you have any great DIY decorating ideas to share?

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Guilt-Free Blueberry, Lemon, & Coconut Squares

We came across this great recipe for low-fat blueberry, lemon, and coconut squares on the Babble’s blog. We’ve made a few tweaks (adding or swapping almonds for coconut), and are sure this recipe will be a crowd pleaser—no belt-loosening required!

Blueberry, Lemon, and Coconut Bars – Makes 16 bars.

Ingredients for Base:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar or Stevia in the Raw
  • 1 scant cup unbleached all-purpose or whole wheat flour – we prefer whole wheat!
  • Pinch of salt

Ingredients for Topping:

  • 1 cup sugar or Stevia In The Raw
  • 2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (but do not thaw!) blueberries, raspberries or cranberries. Fresh and in-season is always preferred!
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)—if you aren’t a coconut fan, or just like almonds!
  • Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add flour and salt and stir until well combined and crumbly.
  3. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8” x 8” pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray or has been lightly greased. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just barely golden around the edges.
  4. To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in the same bowl. Then add the egg, egg white and lemon juice and stir until well blended and smooth.
  5. Sprinkle the berries and coconut (0r almonds if you aren’t a coconut fan… or a mixture of both) evenly over the base, and pour the lemon filling over top. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting or freezing. If you like, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Per square (without almonds): 130 calories, 3.3 g fat (1.9 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 0.2 g polyunsaturated fat), 24 g carbohydrates, 21 mg cholesterol, 1.6 g protein, 0.7 g fiber. 23% calories from fat

DIY Party Favors: Make Your Own Seed Bombs!

We came across a fantastic tutorial for making adorable seed bombs on a neat blog called Mademoiselle Chaos. We think these heart shaped seed bombs would make great party favors or gifts for guests at your next party!

What You Need:

  • Seeds – any kind of flower you like, preferably native!
  • Old newspaper
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Immersion blender
  • Sieve
  • Scrap cloth
  • IKEA’s heart-shaped ice-cube trays or any other soft silicon mold

Directions:

  1. Shred the newspaper into tiny pieces or strips.
  2. Add warm water to the newspaper in a bowl.
  3. Using the immersion blender, blend your concoction.
  4. Add the seeds to your mixture.
  5. Line the sieve with the scrap cloth.
  6. Pour your mixture into the cloth-lined sieve and squeeze out as much water as you can.
  7. Take part of the semi-dry mixture and press it into the shaped ice-cube tray or silicon mold.
  8. After you have filled all the molds and the seed bombs have begun to dry, remove them from the mold.
  9. Place the seed bombs in a warm dry place to completely dry out. But don’t heat them up, or you will kill the seeds!
  10. Once dry, carry your seed bombs in your pocket and plant flowers wherever you go :).

We love these flower, fall pumpkins and leaves, butterfly, and dinosaur molds available on Amazon! The original tutorial with pictures and tips can be found here. What do you think of these adorable seed bombs? Will you make some for your next party?

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DIY Decorations: Yarn Chandelier

This awesome DIY decoration tutorial comes from blogger Nicole at Libby Lane! Her blog is full of great decorating ideas be sure to check it out. We especially love this tutorial that shows you how to make yarn chandeliers that you will want to keep up in your home year round! Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Materials:

  • Yarn of different colors
  • School Glue (Elmer’s works nicely)
  • Corn Starch
  • Vaseline
  • Dowel rod/pole for hanging
  • Scissors
  • Balloons
  • Bowl for Mixing

Steps:

  1. Blow up balloons: To achieve various sized yarn chandeliers consider using a large punching balloon as the main focal point and add standard balloons for the surrounding areas. Inflate the standard balloons to approximately half capacity to keep as true of a circular shape as possible.
  2. Assemble work space: Place a long pole or dowel rod between two chairs to create a DIY ‘drying station’. Place a plastic trash bag or disposable plastic tablecloth underneath where you will hang the balloons. Your lanterns will require some dry time so, it may be a project best suited for indoors or your garage where wind will not be a factor.
  3. Attach balloons to rod: Tie yarn around the stem of the balloon and hang from the dowel rod. Be sure that the balloon is suspended and not touching the surrounding balloons.
  4. Mixing: Cover each balloon in a light coating of petroleum jelly. This ensures that the yarn will not stick to the balloon once it is dried and popped. Next, mix the school glue (about half of the bottle) with approximately 1/2 cup of cornstarch and approx. 1/4 cup of water. You can add more cornstarch and glue if you need a thicker paste consistency.
  5. Wrapping the balloons: Dip the yarn into the glue mixture, squeeze out the excess, and begin wrapping the yarn around the balloon vertically and then switch to horizontally. Once you have covered a good part of your balloon, cut the yarn and tie to a surrounding piece. I chose to do this near the stem of the balloon so it would not be as obvious when hanging.
  6. Drying/popping: Allow yarn chandeliers to hang for 24 hours in a dry, covered area. Patience in this step is a virtue! DO NOT attempt to shorten this process! When your yarn is dry, it is time to pop the balloons! The dried glue crystals on the yarn will easily flake off when lightly tapped.
  7. Hang and admire your chandeliers!

Delicious Strawberry Birthday Cake!

Here is another delicious recipe for birthday cake! Give this strawberry cake a try at your next party and let us know what you think! The recipe was adapted from a recipe at All Recipes found here.

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar or stevia in the raw
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs (room temperature) separated into egg whites and egg yolks
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature (consider swapping out for low-fat milk or fat-free milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree made from fresh or frozen organic strawberries

Ingredients for Icing:

  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1 (8 oz.) package light cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted or equal measure stevia in the raw
  • 1/3 cup strawberry puree made from fresh or frozen organic strawberries

OR

  • 2 packages store-bought vanilla or cream cheese frosting
  • 1/3 cup strawberry puree made from fresh or frozen organic strawberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9 inch round cake pans (or line them with parchment paper to prevent sticking).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar (or stevia) and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each.
  4. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and strawberry puree.
  5. Beat the egg whites in a glass or metal bowl to soft peaks (for about one minute). Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in small batches. Be careful not to over-mix the batter and break the peaks.
  6. Then, divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Allow cakes to cool in their pans over a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, before tapping out to cool completely.
  9. After the cakes have cooled, frost between the layers, on the sides and top of cake. Consider decorating with fresh slices of strawberry and sprinkle with walnuts!
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