Under The Big Top

It’s hard to pinpoint just what I love most about the circus. Is it the color of the big top, the wonderful animals or the clowns and their antics? The circus itself is a minor miracle – it has survived the internet, the iPhone and Netflix. And while drive-in cinemas are no longer to be found, there are still circuses performing around the globe entertaining a new generation of kids.

To celebrate the circus, I have a project that you can make yourself or make with the kids. The clown and circus tent are made in AMACO Cloud Clay which is an air-dry clay that has a lovely suede-like finish and which comes in a heap of colors just perfect for this circus project. The wet clay sticks to itself so the pieces are easily assembled, and when dry, the pieces are astonishingly robust.

To complete the project you will need:

  • AMACO Cloud Clay: Green, Orange, White, Blue, Yellow, Black, Purple, Red, Orange
  • Recycled toilet roll or cardboard cylinder
  • Aluminum foil
  • Acrylic roller
  • Toothpicks
  • Scissors
  • Scallop scissors (optional)
  • Non-stick work surface

To condition the Cloud Clay, pull off a piece of clay large enough for the element you are making and knead it and pull and fold it until it is pliable and soft. Keep the remainder of the clay sealed in an airtight container. I double-bag mine, wrapping first in cling wrap, and then storing it in zip-lock bags. Start with the clown’s feet, shape some Red Cloud Clay to make his shoes. Break a toothpick in two and push one half into each shoe – you will use these to anchor his body.

Scrunch up some aluminum foil to make a sphere for his body. Cover the bottom of the sphere with an overlarge piece of Blue clay; pull some clay away from the body and cut it in two with scissors. Shape the clay to make his trouser legs. Cover the top of the sphere with a large piece of Orange Cloud Clay for his shirt. Press the completed body onto the toothpicks in his shoes, pressing everything firmly together and ensuring that everything is angled correctly so he stands upright.

Make two flattened teardrop shapes using White Cloud Clay for his hands – use scissors to cut the thumb and then curve the shapes to make one left and one right hand. Add some Orange Cloud Clay to his wrists to make sleeves and press the sleeves onto his shirt.

Roll a small egg shape from White Cloud Clay for the clown’s head. Add small pieces of Orange Cloud Clay for the nose and mouth and pieces of Yellow, White, and Black Cloud Clay for his eyes. The image shows how these pieces should be assembled. Press a toothpick into the eyes to make pupils.

Flatten pieces of Green Cloud Clay with your fingers for his ears. Cut around the ears with scallop-edge decorative scissors and press the ears onto the head. Press the head onto the body, ensuring that the clown still stands upright.

Press some Purple clay flat with your fingers to make a bow tie shape. Cut the edges with decorative scissors. Press the bow tie on the clown’s shirt. Finish his trousers with some buttons made from tiny flattened balls of Purple Cloud Clay.

To make the circus tent, roll a piece of Orange Cloud Clay flat using an acrylic roller. Cover a recycled toilet roll with the Orange Cloud Clay and trim away any excess clay. Roll some White Cloud Clay to a similar thickness and cut it into long flat strips. Press the strips of White Cloud Clay onto the Orange clay to make the stripes in the circus tent.

Roll some Orange clay flat and cut a half-circle of clay from it. Press into a cone shape, pull out the bottom edge of the cone to flute it, and sit it on the striped tent base. Make a small flag from Orange clay – roll it around a toothpick and press it into the top of the tent.

Set all the pieces aside to dry.

by Helen Bradley (www.amaco.com)

Butterfly Beverage Cooler

Crafts ’n things Craft of the Day

Keep drinks ice cold and refreshing while you give your summer party décor a boost with this bright and stylish beverage cooler.


  • Galvanized 5-1/2-gallon oblong tub (available at Lowe’s)
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paints: White Wash; Citron Green; Pumpkin; Bahama Blue; Calypso Blue; Dark Chocolate


  • Royal & Langnickel Paintbrushes: White Taklon: Liner, Series 599, #1; Shader, Series 159, #6; White Bristle: Angular Sash, Series 985, 2”
  • Decoart Americana Sealers: Multi-Purpose; Acrylic Sealer/Finisher Spray, Matte
  • Masking tape

Basic Supplies

scissors, transfer paper, pencil



Place tape around top and bottom tub rims. Apply Multi-Purpose Sealer on side of tub. Let dry.


Paint side of tub (on top of sealer) several coats Bahama Blue, letting dry between coats.


Print and cut out pattern. Transfer butterflies to tub. Paint wings Calypso Blue and bodies Dark Chocolate. Let dry


Transfer details. Paint: center of top flowers on wings Pumpkin; center of bottom flowers Citron Green; flower petals White Wash; antennae and details lines on wings Dark Chocolate.


Using Dark Chocolate, paint small dots along antennae lines, long lines on wings, and around edges of wings. Paint large dots at ends of antennae, long lines on wings, center of flowers, tips of flowers, and two on top of body. Let dry.


Spray sealer on side of tub to protect finish. Remove tape


  • To paint dots, dip end of paintbrush handle into paint, then dab on tub. Repeat for each dot to make them all the same size. Use end of large brush handle for large dots and small brush handle for small dots

by Mary Ayres

Ruby Rock-It Carnival Queen Prize Winner

Whether it’s the Ferris wheel, funnel cakes, games, or sugary cotton candy, everyone has special memories of a carnival. Alice Golden here with you today to announce the winner of the new Ruby Rock-It product line “Carnival Queen”.

In my last post on April 17, I introduced to you the Australian company Ruby Rock-It and explained that I had the wonderful opportunity to try out their new line of products. Their products include not only many wonderful papers and stickers, but they have a fantastic variety of paper and fabric die cuts, pockets, printed cards and stitched paper garlands, too. 

All you needed to do to be entered in the drawing for this fabulously fun carnival prize was to tell me your favorite thing to do, see, or eat at a carnival in the comments section of my post by Monday, May 6.

While my favorite carnival treat is cotton candy, I received a wide variety of favorites, from watching the crowd, to funnel cakes, to losing your voice from screaming on the Zipper ride! The winner of this prize pack said, “My favorite thing to eat is the cotton candy- but it has to be pink!”

The winner, as selected by Random.org, is: Heidi.

Heidi, I will be contacting you by email for your mailing address. Your kind comments are very much appreciated.

Alice Golden from Golden Moments (www.alicegolden.com)

Ruby Rock-It Carnival Queen Giveaway

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try out some products from an Australian company called Ruby Rock-It. In addition to papers and stickers, they have a fantastic variety of embellishments – all sorts of paper and fabric die cuts, pockets, printed cards and stitched paper garlands – that made it hard to decide which to try first.

Ruby Rock-It is sponsoring a giveaway where one lucky Crafts ‘n things blog reader can win their new Carnival Queen line. I think you will love all of the fun images that are incorporated into these products as much as I do.

Who doesn’t love a carnival or fair? Between all the rides, games, and interesting exhibits, not to mention the seemingly endless variety of tempting things to eat, there is usually something to make everyone happy. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite thing to do, see, or eat at a carnival by Monday, May 6, 2013. Winners will be announced here on May 7th.

My favorite carnival treat would have to be cotton candy. (We were at a festival in Maine last summer where I tried a version made from maple sugar and it was completely addictive).

I thought it would be fun to use this line to create a party set. These products could easily be adapted to all sorts of parties or showers, and they are versatile enough to be used on baby- or girl-themed projects too. (If you are looking for a similar line with bolder colors, check out the Ruby Rock-It Carnival King collection.)

The embellished picks come in several different varieties and I used them as-is to decorate cupcakes – doesn’t get much easier than that. They would also be adorable on the front of a card or gift bag.

Every single piece in the collection has wonderful detail. The ticket stubs in the background are included in the die-cut pack.

The popcorn bags were really easy to create using double-sided scrapbook papers and a box template. The hardest part was deciding which embellishments to add.

An easy party favor is a cellophane bag filled with candy or other treats and topped with paper. Staple the bag closed, apply double-sided tape to the paper and fold in half over the bag. I used foam adhesive under the die-cut embellishments to add more dimension.

This is a recycled tin that was covered with paper and decorated to become fun gift packaging.

It really doesn’t take long to add a few special touches that can have a big impact on your celebration. Let us know if you give some of these ideas a try.


Happy Crafting!

Alice Golden from Golden Moments (www.alicegolden.com)

Disclaimer: Please be assured that no cupcakes were wasted in the creation of this blog post.


Brand New Birthday Collection Giveaway Winner

Who doesn’t love to receive homemade cards and gifts for their birthday? Or, have a spectacular party decorated with beautiful homemade decorations? Hi there! Alice Golden here with you today for another special something – I have the exciting “task” of announcing the one lucky winner of the Karen Foster Design Birthday Collection Giveaway from my February 20th blog post!

All you needed to do to be entered in the drawing for this fabulous assortment of papers, stickers, and embellishments was to answer the question, “What is your all-time favorite birthday treat?” in the comments section of my post by Tuesday, March 5, 2013. I truly enjoyed reading about everyone’s favorite birthday treats. They all sounded so luscious – and all those wonderful desserts made me so hungry!

The winner, as selected by Random.org, is: Deborah Kind.

Deborah, I will be contacting you by email for your mailing address. Your kind comments are very much appreciated.

Alice Golden from Golden Moments (www.alicegolden.com)

Cute, Quick, & Easy Cupcake Napkin Ring

Planning a fun and easy get together with a few of your closest friends is a great way to beat the last few days of chilly weather as we anticipate the arrival of spring. Creating superb finishing touches such as coordinated napkin rings is one way to make your guests see just how crafty you really are! Why not throw a delicious and super fun cupcake-themed party? Having these cupcake napkin rings on your table will be sure to make you “hostess of the season!”

For my daughter’s sixth birthday, we invited nearly a dozen little children over to help her celebrate. I decided it would be fun to make a “cupcake bar” instead of the traditional birthday cake. It was fun for them and easy for me. You could easily adapt that idea but add a bit of polish. Here’s how: Bake two to four different flavors of cupcakes. Create the same number of different frostings that would work with the flavors of the cupcakes you will be serving. Arrange the cupcakes beautifully on a platter or a cupcake display stand. Place the frostings in fun bowls on either side of the cupcakes. Then fill stemware with various different toppings such as, chopped nuts, sprinkles, nonpareils, mini chocolate chips, toasted coconut, cherries, etc. Use the center of your table as the “bar” and be sure to set each place around the table with a charming cupcake napkin ring to really bring it all together!


Approx. 4”


  • National Nonwovens Wool Felt: Peat Moss, White
  • Staedtler FIMO White Soft Oven Bake Clay
  • DecoArt Americana Buttermilk Acrylic Paint
  • CRYSTALLIZED Swarovski Elements Bicones: Asstorted Colors, 2mm, eight; Ruby, 6mm, one


  • Spellbinders Lacey Circles Small Nestabilities Dies
  • Spellbinders The Wizard Die Cutting & Embossing Machine
  • Impression Obsession Cover A Card Rubber Stamps: Swirls
  • Staedtler Acrylic Roller
  • Fiskars Pinking Shears
  • Thin chipboard
  • Clay-dedicated tile and oven
  • Thin needle & thread
  • Hot glue gun and sticks

basic supplies

scissors, ruler, paintbrush


1  Condition clay according to manufacturer’s directions. Roll clay on tile work surface. Press Swirls stamp onto surface of clay. Cut 1”x5” rectangle. Roll into loop and press ends together. Press lightly to create oval shape. Bake in oven following manufacturer’s instructions. Once fully cooled, paint entire surface Buttermilk.

2 Use Lacey Circles die to cut two layers of white felt. Use pinking shears to cut circles in half. Sew assorted crystals onto one layer of white felt. Use pinking shears to cut two layers of Peat Moss felt in rectangle. Trim sides to make bottom edge shorter than the top edge.

3 Cut small rectangle of chip board. Use hot glue to adhere cut felt pieces to both sides of chipboard. Adhere embellished cupcake to clay ring.

 Design and Photography by Keri Lee Sereika (www.pinklemonade.typepad.com)