Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Love Machines!

I wanted to design a craft for "Class Dixon" to do during their Valentine's Day party! Crafts of all kinds are special, especially if they are done by your little ones, but let's face it, we are inundated with paperwork and crafts galore (just an aside: Paige I have NOT forgotten about your request for a paperwork organization post!). When planning the craft for 21 kindergarteners, I decided that I wanted the kids to make something that they will view as FUN, exciting, resourceful, and USEFUL!  My dear friend Jill Dubien at "Meet The Dubiens"  created an "I Chews You" machine.  I never let go of that image in my head.  It was just too darn clever, not to mention her photographs are always pristine.  You HAVE got to check out her bird photography.  LOVE!!!

Anyway, I wanted to replicate her design in some way, but I truly wanted the craft to be my OWN creation.  Being a crafter, it's really no fun to completely rip off someone else's creations, although I know Jill wouldn't have minded. So... I decided since we were celebrating Valentine's Day that the kids needed to incorporate those cute little conversation hearts into their craft.  Low and behold, a light bulb went off in my head.  "I know...we will make LOVE MACHINES!"  Every time a child pulls a conversation heart out of their "machine", a new love message will be sent their way.  

I made a mock up of a "LOVE MACHINE", so the kids can see what the end result looks like.  I cannot wait to share this masterpiece with you.  Okay, so first, I went to Kroger and picked up 21, naturally flavored waters.  Kroger had them on sale 10 for $10.00.  It was still a pretty penny to buy 21 of these.  
The WORST part of purchasing these drinks, is that I had to empty the liquid. I saved it and tried to preserve it for ingestion, haha, but my kids said it was disgusting.  So, yes, I dumped $21 worth of naturally flavored water.  Eeeeek. Please don't judge me on this one.  I really did try to save it.
Next, set out the containers to dry!
Then, take the princess wrappers off of the drink containers.  It felt so weird cutting up 21 princess' faces.  
Jill used solo cups for the base of her bubble gum machine, but I found these cute snack cups at the Dollar Tree and decided to use them as my base. They came in red and pink, so I got both.  Red for the boys and pink for the girls.  There are (8) cups to a pack for $1.00.  
Allow the drink containers to dry completely.  If the inside is wet, your candy will get wet.  I purchased a few embellishments to add character to our LOVE Machines.  1) Conversation Heart Ribbon, 2) Conversation Felt Hearts, and 3) Mustache and Lip Stickers. 
The ribbon was used to wrap around the drink's cap.   
The conversation felt hearts were used to take the place of the coin slot on a real bubble gum machine. I also placed one on TOP of the cap to give it more personality.  I found these at Michael's.  I believe they were $1.99 per pack, but I did have a coupon. I had to buy two packs for 21 students.
The mustache and lip stickers were used on top of the felt hearts.  Lips for girls, mustaches for boys. Valentine's Day doesn't have a TON of masculinity to it. I think mustaches, princes, and frogs are about the only items I could think of to make the machines a little more manly.  
To assemble, just hot clue the bottom of the drink container and adhere it to the "base" of the machine. Decorate the exterior of the machine to replicate the ones you see in the stores.  Then FILL! Again, being the kids will celebrate Valentine's Day, I chose to use conversation hearts. It took a full bag to fill each machine to the very top. Good thing these candy hearts were on sale (10) for $10.  Still...that's ANOTHER $21. Okay, so this craft isn't cheap, but I have amazing classroom parents this year who are very kind with their donations and I have yet to use any of the classroom budget, allotted to the kindergarten class, so I have some wiggle room.
Wala! These machines are very hard to photograph.  Being the container is clear, the sun reflects off of it and you get a horrible glare in each photo.  I tried taking pictures of it in a pitch black room, on my deck, in the hallway, behind closed doors, in a bath tub, etc.... Sigh... No luck! But there you have it! I LOVE the way it turned out.  REALLY, I do.  AND I also love that the kids get to refill it and use it over and over and over again.  I like the idea of filling it up with peanuts, gum, skittles, red hots and maybe even pennies.  Ooooooh! IT could also be a money bank!!!!
Are you wondering what the ingredients were for that drink?  See below!
I think the kids are going to be super excited about making and bringing home their very own LOVE MACHINE!
If you didn't see enough photos of the end result, feel free to view the entire collection of photos that I took.  I did NOT edit all of them, so beware they aren't the best eye candy! Pun not intended.  LOL! You will see how desperate I was to capture the end result, but I still do not believe I did the BEST job.  Shannon Maggi, I need you during times like these.