Lazy Days of Summer Three Craft Ideas

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Artist Date guest post by Mary-Frances Main, writer, crafter, blogger and mama.

We’re enjoying a warm summer but spending a lot of it inside in the air conditioning. If you think about it, it’s a lot like being snowed in – but lazier! Of course there are the rainy days, too where you must find something NEW to do around the house. So, why not get out the crafting supplies and do something fun with your kids? (aka. artist’s dates with your kids?)

Here are some of my favorite “go-to” ideas that I return to again and again.

Homemade play dough

I love this because it’s a budget helper AND the world’s most fun thing.  The dough is non-toxic (although it tastes disgusting) and you can use any brand unsweetened drink mix.

Yes, you can buy the little tins of play dough at the store, but I’ve had this Kool-Aid recipe for years and it smells fantastic and costs pennies to make:


  • 1 c flour, sifted
  • 1/2 c salt
  • 3 T cooking oil
  • 1 pkg Koolaid (unsweet)
  • 1 c boiling water
  1. Mix together flour, salt, and Kool-aid (picking the kool aid is half the fun – smell and color!) in a medium size saucepan.
  2. Then add the oil and stir until the ingredients are well mixed.
  3. Turn on the heat.
  4. Add the cup water.
  5. Stir with a metal spoon until the dough starts to pull away from the side of the pan.
  6. Pull out of pan
  7. Knead the mixture until it forms a soft dough.
  8. Have fun!
  9. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Stitch a simple pencil case (5 years plus):

This requires a few supplies, but if you have tons of fabric around (yes, I do),  some pinking shears and optional quilt batting, it’s simple and fun. It’s really simple and fun to pick out fabrics. Draw out 2 long triangles of fabric, making the short length (the width) about the length of a pencil, plus an inch (for the seam).  Then stitch a “quilt sandwich” – this isn’t hard, just two pieces of fabric with a piece of batting in the center (cut the batting a bit smaller than the fabric if you don’t want it to show out the sides.

Fold one third up into a pocket and the other third down into a little flap (see picture).

You can put Velcro, a button or a snap or whatever you want to close it shut.

Have your little one do the stitching all around and they will feel a HUGE accomplishment! My daughter still uses hers!

Paper/Felt Dolls.

This is a new one for us, but I recently found these dolls that I grew up with.

The idea is so simple and so creative, I can see a little fashion designer getting very “into” decorating the clothes etc.

Hint: The Goodwill or ARC carries bags of little trims (lace, etc) so you don’t have to spend any money on the extras for these dolls. And felt is really inexpensive at your local fabric or craft store.

I’ve attached a .pdf to trace, but have some fun with the faces and clothes. My doll (from the 1970’s I might add) is backed with a cereal box – so again, recycle, recycle! Trace, the doll out on the cereal box, if your kiddo is old enough have them cut out the felt pieces and help you glue to make the doll.

The second .pdf is the clothes. I’m hoping the picture will get your creativity started, but again, use any buttons, felt, lace or ric rac you have around the house to make your clothes as cute as you want!

If  you come up with something adorable, I’d love to see the results!

Have fun and enjoy the hot or rainy days as much as the gorgeous summer days and of course, have fun creating!

Bio: In 1999, my husband crossed the ocean from Australia to meet me for the first time after corresponding for 14 years. We were married after 10 days – his visit was supposed to be 2 weeks. Ten years later, we have two wonderful kids….Missy C and Matey Moo, both in Elementary school and our pride and joy! I adore my kids and would rather spend time with them than anything else.

We love our 1950’s ranch, which exists – out of sheer dumb luck – in a really cool neighborhood in Denver – we blog about it at My husband now works with me at my company Widget Inc . . . and so we work out of our cool house doing web design and programming!

Seven years ago, I found my grandmother’s worn crazy quilt and started researching “fixing” it. This started my long exploration of embroidery, quilting, crazy quilting and all things fiber arts – as well as my blog, I Am Not a Handbag. For more information, please visit

Melissa’s Note: I’m so in awe of Mary-Frances’ crafty ability! As most of you know by now, I’m a word crafter NOT a materials crafter.  But, oh, I do wish and hope that some day the craft fairy will bless me like Mary-Frances.  I promise I will try the dolls because I’ll try anything and of course, the play-dough can’t go too wrong if I just follow the directions.  Right?  (M.-F., please come over and hold my hand!?)

THANK you so much, Mary-Frances!  I excited to try these ideas!!


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  1. The doll is adorable and thanks for the patterns. Who made Mary-Frances’ doll and all the clothes? She must have grown up in a crafty home. I’m amazed she still has it!