Home for the Holiday

  • Dutch “Gingerbread House” Clay Luminary

    I love Gingerbread and making Gingerbread Houses for the holidays. But this year I wanted to add to the tradition and make something that will last multiple seasons: Clay  Gingerbread House inspired Luminary.

    BlogPins LUMINARY Dutch House Gingerbread

    Here is the step by step on how we made these Gingerbread inspired luminaries.


    • Oven hard clay – we used natural brown for that Gingerbread look
    • Starch
    • Hot glue
    • Puffy paint
    • Beads
    • Glitter – white and light blue
    • Beads – I used glass red, green and gold beads
    • Tea-light candle or batter powered small LED light
    • Cookie cutter or pattern (click here to get the cookie cutter I used from our Etsy shop)

    First thing double check you got the right clay! I did not do this step the first time around, and boy was I upset when I cut out perfectly 5 Gingerbread house forth of pieces.

    Gingerbread Cookies

    Now that we established you have the right supplies, cut out the four sides of the house with the cookie cutter. To keep it simple the front and back of the house are the Dutch facade with the stair step roofs.

    For the sides, I chose not to have the stair step roof. I simply cut that part off with a knife. Also, I wanted some windows closed, so I did not push my cookie cutter all of the way through. Instead I used a sharp knife to finish cutting out the parts I wanted removed.

    For the roof, I just cut a rectangle, the long side matched the width of each side and the short side took in to account the thickness of the walls. So the short side of the rectangle was about 1/4″ shorter.

    Next bake the house per the instructions on the clay box. Let completely cool.

    Using puffy paint and your beads for accents, decorate the sides of the house as you wish.

    Decorated clay ginger bread house process

    I used the longer gold beads as to make “candles” in the windows. Now let completely dry.

    Assemble the house by first pre-heating the hot glue. I started with attaching the long edge of the roof, to one of the front/back sides. These will be my inside walls, with the flat top sides being glued to the outer edge. Continue to assemble the house with hot glue until all sides are secured.

    As a final touch, I used white puffy paint to cover up any hot glue that might have pushed out and along all of the seams and the roof top. Sprinkle some glitter as you go to add some shimmer for a fresh snow effect. Let completely dry.  Now, we can leave it at that and add a tea-light candle or battery powered LED lights for a final touch.


    That’s it! My son and his big cousin each decorated a wall for the house we made for Nana and Pops.  Great DIY gift to add to their Christmas Village.


  • DYI: Family Mystery Game Criminal Mastermind

    With the Holiday break right around the corner and many winter camps still being impacted by COVID here is a great game for the entire family…. a criminal family!

    Create Criminal Profile

    First you need to create the criminal profiles, complete with finger prints. For your profile get dressed up in a disguise and take a selfie, or create a “mug-shot” if your criminal profile has been caught in the past. Add a back story about what kind of crimes your criminal has committed. Last but not least take the finger prints.

    Use a charcoal pencil and rub it on some fine sand paper (regular paper works as well but may take longer). Then, one finger at a time, rub your finder on the charcoal making sure the print is completely covered. Place your finger on the sticky side of clear tape and lift. Take the finger printed tape and tape it to a blank spot on your “Criminal Profile”. Repeat for other fingers.

    Create a Crime Report

    Make up a few crimes which have happened! Make a crime report complete with what evidence was found. Be sure to include at least 1 finger print for a criminal suspect you’ve created. Be sure the finger print “found” is also one of the fingers used in the criminal profiles.

    On the back of the crime report I wanted to hide the answers. First I printed the answer in “mirror image”, meaning when you hold it up to the mirror you can read it correctly right to left. Then I used clear tape to tape it to the back. I added a flap with another piece of paper and tape so that the answer is covered.

    Now let your kiddo grab a magnifying glass and see if they can solve the mystery.

  • Last Minute Toddler Gifts

    Last Minute DIY Toddler Gifts Needle Felt Play Garden Kids Crafts

    I have to hand it to Sash, she is the queen of handmade gifts for our boys. This year there are a few last minute ideas she came up with that are sure to be a hit. If you’re struggling with what to get your toddler, here are our favorites.

    Play Pretend Garden – Fruit and Veggies

    There are plenty of tutorials for sewing fruits and veggie gardens on Pinterest. I won’t compete with the instructions they offer. I will point out a few things that we did differently; mainly the use of pipe-cleaners. For the strawberries, the pipe-cleaners are used to hook on the berries. The same is true for the pumpkins, and their pipe-cleaners act as the vine and stem as well.

    The potatoes also use pipe-cleaners as a hook. The three pipe-cleaners hiding in the stem of the potato plant stick out as roots. This offers the perfect spot to hook on the felt potatoes.

    Busy Book

    This is a (mostly) no-sew busy book. Everything here was done with hot glue, felt, buttons, and puffy paint. Pages 1-2 are counting pages with felt pockets and a matching number of colored Popsicle sticks. On pages 3-4 Sasha utilized specialty buttons on a string to make play pretend scenes. The last two pages are some classic games: tick-tack-toe and matching. The book is assembled with the backs of each page hot glued to each other with a piece of card stock in the middle to provide some rigidity. The last step was to bind it by sewing the pages together, but if you don’t want to break the needle out for just this step, you can just hot glue it all.

    Play Pretend Needle Felt Food

    Needle felt food! Offers endless possibilities. The boys have a play kitchen, with everything from hamburgers to berries in needle felt food. If you never tried needle felting, head over to Etsy and find any number of kits that are offered. They are a great way to start. All you need is the felting needles, and some colored felt. Then use the needle to shape the wool and poke away. Be careful to watch your fingers as the needle is sharp.

  • 5 Unique DIY Wood Slice Ornaments

    DIY Ornaments Christmas Cafts

    We’ve all seen the wood slice ornaments with chalk paint or a snowman face. Those are some of my favorite crafts. But there are so many more designs and ideas for using tree rounds, or wood slices, to make your own ornaments.

    Last few years I have saved the truck of our Christmas trees for crafts just like this. So the pictures below are from our tree, so there are imperfections where the sap smeared while cutting of the saw blade got to hot. But to me that is what makes these perfect, after all they still smell like Christmas too! So  here are five of my favorite DIY wood slice ornaments. Each about 2″ in diameter and the thickness is about 1/4-1/2″.

    Brand Monogram


    The first one us is the branded monogram. It is super easy. I used my branding iron and withing a few minutes, branded the ~1″ letter S on both sides. I then took puffy paints and made Holly. I added a little shine to the holly by placing a glass bead in the puffy paint. Once dry I did a slightly different pattern on the other side. I like puffy paint for the 3 dimensional aspect of it.

    Pressed Flowers


    Every year we gather flowers and enjoy drying them in the boy’s flower press. They often forget just how many flowers we dried, but I save a few in an envelope. Then, when its Christmas time, we take our a the flowers and decoupage then on to both sides of a wood slice. Add a little glitter for some shimmer and that is it! Simple and so nice.

    Picture Wood Transfer

    Ton’s of people have great YouTube video on how to transfer your photos on to wood. 1. Print our a picture you want but be sure to mirror the image. 2. Mod podge the wood slice and place the image on to the mod podged wood slice face down. Let dry 3. Gently moisten the paper and rub off the paper. The ink will transfer to the glue and leave the image on the wood also letting the wood texture show through. Notes on this: Don’f rub too hard you can rub off the image.  Try it on the edges first where if you rub of the ink its not a big deal to get a feel for it.




    For this one you need to drill a few holes in the pattern you wish to embroider. I stick to simple leaves, Christmas tree or snow flakes. Then you literally embroider the ornament.



    Combine any of the above methods to create something more intricate! I love doing branding and then embroidering for example. Owen did the red and green tree and he wanted a “million” stars. So I did what I could.

    Hope you enjoyed the post. If you don’t happen to have a branding iron or Christmas tree laying around and want to give this a try, send us a note @OwensAdventuresEtsy.  We do custom kits on our Etsy shop and would love to help you out.


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