DIY Paper Cat and Mouse Masks

Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer MagCat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag

We had a cousin playdate last week where the girls played cat + mouse in these little paper masks. It was the sweetest thing ever. They also played dollies and ballerinas which was all too cute not to document.

Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag

We used the cat and mouse mask templates from our Kids Craft Camp Animal Unit, which you can see here. I’ve also included the downloads for the masks in this post for you should you want to use them (see the images of the masks below). The masks work for adults as well as kids and you could even scale them down for dolls (which I’ll have to do later as the idea is just too irresistible!). For this 2yr old playdate I made the masks but I love the kid made version from Camp. Don’t hesitate to let your little one cut and make their own! it’s really the best. I love the look of kid made crafts so much more. There’s something so special about their cuts, their vision, etc.


They each had a blast climbing in and out of the little hole in the side table (which I recently painted pink with chalk paint – it used to be black and is from Target years ago. Have you used chalk paint before? I’m kind of digging it).

Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag  Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer MagCat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag

I have to admit, hanging out with 2yr old girls was sort of different for me (I’ve been in boy playdate world for so long!).  It was fun to really indulge in a world of pastel.

Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag Mouse Mask | Mer Mag

Download the mouse mask by clicking here (or by clicking the image above).

Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag  Cat Mask | Mer Mag

Download the mouse mask by clicking here (or by clicking the image above).

Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer MagCat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag  Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag    Cat & Mouse paper masks | Mer Mag

best cousins forever.


on Miss M: Ballet Dress in Cornflower; on little cuz Bonton tutu

Weekend Links and a Studio Sale!

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TGIF friends! thought I’d pop in and share a few fun things that are inspiring me around the inter webs these days:

first are you dressing the rainbow with Brittany? I played along and wore pale teal with her. so fun. Oh and She’s extended it for 10 days now!

I need to get this children’s book about one of my favorite artists!

prettiest little classroom I ever did see

I love the idea of bleach dying your back back

speaking of dying, have you tried this unusual natural item for dying? Such beautiful results!

this natural homemade school lunch snack actually has me thinking I could get more culinary

and on that note, 7 healthy lunches for a week! love that

could you paint a door this color? i find it exquisite

how fun would it be to turn your kids bed into a silly face for them when they got home from school!?

look at this play group using our silly face stamps for a craft party! love!



Oh and last but not least, if you’re local we’re having a studio sale with fellow Hinterland Studio creatives Sycamore Street Press, House that Lars Built, Sarah Jane Studios, Meta Coleman, Alma Loveland and Cassidy Tuttle. Think one bit creative garage sale of sorts. Anything from furniture, supplies, product, toys, clothing, and even some electronics, etc. Come out to 1253 S. Main street in Springville, UT from 10-1 if you want in on the fun. Hope to see you there!



School Lunch Notes and Stickers


My kids love school. Especially my oldest. But let me tell you he’s now entering the 4th grade and things just got real. We sat down and went over his homework expectations for the week (because he still thinks he can run off to the neighbors and play all afternoon/evening like he did in the summer) and after getting an idea of what was expected, he full on burst into tears. I’ve honestly never ever seen him like this. He LOVES to perform. He loves math, puzzles, order, clear expectations, checking off lists etc. But for the first time all of it was just too much. And my heart broke in two.

So we took a deep breath, started over, went a bit slower and I tried to offer more encouragement. We broke it down day-by-day etc. and I reminded him of how smart he is and how it just takes some getting used to but that he’ll be in the swing of things in no time. (but seriously, it is a load of homework – maybe too much in my opinion. I feel a bit like we’re having homeschool after he gets home from public school! I’m sure it will get better and my homework helping muscles will grow too).

MerMagSchoolLunchNotes2  MerMagSchoolLunchNotes9

So by way of encouragement I made up a few notes of encouragement and put together some stickers to make school supplies (or afterschool homework supplies!) more fun and appealing. I added a download of everything in the shop as well if you’re interested in using these notes and stickers yourself. I even put a smaller version of the “Hi Five!” and “Thumbs Up!” print in there too.

I know he can do it and soon his schedule will be more familiar and his brain will adapt. And once he get’s past the overwhelming feeling he’ll soon realize that he’s capable and can do this no problem. We just have to be more disciplined with our time (which is not really our style) and I’m sure it will all fall into place.


Visit the shop here if you’re interested in downloading these notes and stickers. And please, if you have any tips, or commiserating stories 😉 I’d love to hear them!


(sweetest doodle notebook by Start Creative, glue from Yoobi and my favorite Stabilo pens)




Simple Scenes: This week at the Banister House

MER MAG | the banister houseMER MAG | the banister house

We’re slowly getting back into gear with school. Are your kids in school yet? It’s been both exhausting, trying to get all our ducks in a row, and somewhat more peaceful trying to settle into a schedule with the boys gone for the day (No more little O coming home for lunch which I def. miss).  Little Miss and I are having fun but she’s now decided to quit napping (right in my peak work time) so theres that. I’ve been working on doll prototypes (it’s taking me a bit longer than anticipated) but I’m having a lot of fun. Miss M is too (and thinks they are all for here…good things she likes to share :)).

MER MAG | the banister house

Both these kids turn another year older in Oct. so I have to start thinking birthday plans. Little O lost his first tooth recently as well and he’s the cutest little pirate because of it.

MER MAG | the banister house

And in more Banister House news, we are knee deep in bathroom renovation (and we’re talking about our one and only very large bathroom – so it’s no weekend do-over). I’m super excited with how it’s coming along and can’t wait to share more.

Kids Craft Camp: Portrait Unit


I’m crazy about our portrait unit in Kids Craft Camp. It so fun to see the kids begin to understand that pretty much everything is comprised of shapes – including faces!


I started off with a demo explaining how even our faces can be broken down into shapes. I asked the kids what eyes could be (circles, ovals, even rectangles if we wanted, etc.) and the continued on with the nose (move fav. answer was a triangle), the mouth and so on. The loved it and I could see the lightbulbs going on in their little creative heads.


We had a number or portrait projects lined up for this unit including cardboard faces (both big and small!). They kids picked from a variety of cardboard cut shapes to create their own little faces (you could have your little one cut their own shapes, I just pre-cut ours before hand for time constraints).


They then proceeded to make and decorate little puppets using bbq skewers as the body & popsicle sticks for the arms.


They even cut up scraps of fabric and made their own clothing etc. and finished it all off with a fun puppet show.


The students also played around with oversized faces made from cardboard cake inserts (you could also use pizza rounds).




Another portrait activity we did was to drawn the person who sat across from us. Upon hearing this one little girl mentioned to me that she couldn’t draw. So I reminded her about using shapes to make up a face. She quickly perked up, knowing that she could indeed at least draw shapes and quickly drew the most adorable portrait of her neighbor.


And of course we had to paint a few pencil holder heads (just in time to brighten up back-t0-school homework stations!) in our portrait unit as well.


Seeing what the students created was such a treat! Their creative minds are just exploding with ideas and I loved being able to be a part of their creative journey if only just for a week.

A reminder for those of you who have expressed interest in putting together a Kids Craft Camp yourself I’ve outlined the curriculum for you in a pdf in our online Kids Craft Camp (which also has 8 other activities complete with video for you to do at camp as well!). This can easily be adapted to the school year or for preschool groups, etc.


photography by Shannon Weight

Back-to-School Atly Class Sale!

Back To School Atly

Have you seen the sale that Atly is having a back-to-school sale on ALL of their online classes?!! 20% off all classes today and tomorrow! And that includes my online Kids Craft Camp Class! Woohoo!

And good news! For all of those who have asked for a curriculum for the Kids Craft Camps I put on over the summer, I’ve since included a pdf with all that info in this online camp as well! It’s perfect for preschoolers and can easily be modified for after school camps too (not just for summer). Below are a few screen shots to give you a preview of what sort of information will be in the pdf.

KCCCurricullumScreenShot1 KCCCurricullumScreenShot2

Find the entire pdf in the online camp here.


top photo Trisha Zemp

bottom photo Shannon Weight

Izzy & Ferd Clothing and a Playful Twig Crown



I love the sweet and comfortable kids clothing line Izzy & Ferd so when Cindy contacted me about how they used the tutorial from my Twig Crown, found in my book Playful, I was so super excited! And then she sent over this crazy adorable behind the scenes shot of this li’l guy wearing it and I was over the moon. She also mentioned that her son gathered the twigs for the crown and everything, which I love. It’s such a perfect activity to do together with your child. izzy+ferd+mermagcrown

See more of Izzy & Ferd’s cutest Polar Quest line for fall/winter here.

Boy with Wings Cake Topper

Knowledge Gives You Wings cake topper

Just had to pop in and share our little “Knowledge Gives You Wings” cake topper. I made this little guy last minute for the cake at our Back-to-School dinner and Little O claimed him at once. It would have been cute to do each child if I had had the time (it was getting close to bedtime by the time we ate the cake).

And if you want to use him as well for a cake topper or just for play you can download a copy of him here.

Cardboard Paper Wings + a Back-to-School Dinner



Summer is flying away and it’s time for us to get set for another school year. In actuality I really love this time of year (if not for mourning summers end). It’s full of promise, new beginnings, slight signs of crispy fall on it’s way…and lots of fresh smelling school supplies! We have a tradition of having a Back-to-School Dinner with a theme that gets the kids back into the swing of things school wise with a bit a encouragement. We find it a great way to transition into a new routine. This year our Back-to-School theme was “Knowledge Gives You Wings”.



I made each child a set of cardboard paper wings and placed them on the table before our dinner. This year I also thought it would be fun to present them with their new clothing, backpacks and supplies at the table as well.


They loved it! And after trying on their clothing each of them jumped out a new school-year older! And we all celebrated each child saying things like “what! how can you be a 4th grader?!! get back in the bathroom and rewind time already! I can’t handle you growing up so old!” Fits of giggles and proud grins were the result. I think we found ourselves an new tradition. We then finalized it all with a dinner (cauliflower mac n cheese, my kids absolute favorite, thanks to Jessica Seinfeld) and finished it off with a cake.KnowledgeGivesYouWingsDinner


At the dinner we talked about what the phrase “Knowledge Give You Wings” means. Little O was mostly excited about the possibility of learning how to make actually real life wings for himself. He liked the idea that the more he knew, more he could do. We also had the children write or draw one thing that they hoped to learn this year – which was very revealing and sort of hilarious (like AJ really wanted to learn how to be the Easter Bunny’s apprentice. Who knew?!).

But by far the biggest hit was the cardboard paper wings. All of my kids were crazy about them. And best part for me?- super easy to make.KnowledgeGivesYou(paper)Wings

To make the wings you’ll need:

  • large sheet of cardboard (to tape two together at the center of the wings)
  • paper/card stock in the color of your choice (or poster board which is what we used for the largest black wings)
  • ribbon to tie the wings on
  • duct tap to reinforce the ties
  • scissors & a utility knife




Making the wings:

  1. Fold your large sheet of cardboard in half and draw one side of the wing onto it. Using a utility knife and a self healing mat (or strong scissors) cut out that one side leaving the center of the wings on the fold.
  2. Trace that side of the wing onto the other side of your folded cardboard and proceed to cut out the other side of the wings.
  3. Cut out feather shapes from your card stock and hot glue onto your cardboard wings starting at the bottom.
  4. Continue gluing all the feathers on from the bottom all the want to the top. Trim away any excess from the top
  5. To wear the wings I simply cut a long strip of ribbon and criss-crossed it the formation above in the drawing and hot glued onto the cardboard just at the criss-cross section. l then added some duct tape on top for extra-reinforcement.

wings close up

PaperWings11MerMag  PapeWingsGreyPaperWingsGrey2PapeWingsPaleTeal

MiMiSitting   PapeWingsPaleTeal2

lilshoesPapeWingsPaleTeal+Black MinAlice+Ames1siblingsdancingwithwings

The kids had so much fun playing and dancing with their wings and I loved capturing special moments such as this sweet sister-brother dance.


On Mimi: Sweetest little Alice + Ames Blossom Top and Short in black; thrifted shoes

On the boys: Target clothing and Coverse sneakers


Kids Craft Camp: Nature Crowns and Cloaks


It’s hard to pick which unit of Kids Craft Camp is my favorite but I really love the nature unit. Particularly our nature walk with kids adorned is self-made paper grass crowns and fabric painted cloaks. MerMagsKidsCraftCampNatureUnit4

In our July session we made twig and leaf crowns but this time I thought it would be fun for the kids to paint paper grass crowns. And they loved it. They delved into some fun painting and texture techniques where they used combs to created a scratchy grass like texture. This was tons of fun for a lot of the kids.


For the cloaks each child received a yard of fabric to decorate. They laid down real leaves in whatever pattern they like and then they sprayed over the leaves with fabric dye (using gloves, etc.). The kids really really enjoyed this part. Getting to mess with spray paint is a all around win win for kids. We then took them outside to dry on a rack and I just love how each and everyone’s turned out. If your doing this at home it might be fun to go on a walk beforehand looking for leaves.


Once the cloaks and crowns were dry we went on a nature walk looking and listening for all things inspiring in nature. Our studio is by a pasture with gorgeous horses and the kids really loved seeing and interacting with them from the other side of the fence.

We dubbed ourselves as kings and queens of nature for a day and talked a bit about what it would means to be a steward over the earth and how we would help to keep her clean and thriving. We also delved into imaginary worlds with castles made from talk rocky mountains and lairs deep beneath the sea.


Yes, I think it’s safe to say it was a magical day for all.


beautiful photography by Shannon Weight (one of the Kids Craft Camper’s mom who came with us on our walk)