7 Creative Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Here are 7  Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day from our guest blogger Sarah Lockwood. Thanks, Sarah!

Like many holidays, St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. has morphed into “just another big party” for a lot of people—which is unfortunate, because there are so many more exciting ways to celebrate. If you’d rather spend the holiday weekend immersing yourself in a more artful and memorable experience, you’re not alone. Plenty of people are finding creative ways to take part in one of spring’s biggest events.

Whether you want to give a nod to the real traditions of the holiday or prefer to instill your St. Paddy’s Day with art and culture, consider these avenues for designing a one-of-a-kind March 17th:

1. Visit the Irish or British portion of your local museum. Sadly, most city dwellers or those within easy driving distance don’t regularly visit their local museums. Choose your poison, whether it’s a traditional art museum, peculiarium (an oddities museum/gallery), or niche museum specializing in a particular art or practice you adore, and then see if they have any special St. Patrick’s Day exhibits or Irish collections. Some museums even offer discount days and times, so check ahead, and see what part of the weekend is the best time to visit. We suggest the Irish Famine Museum on the campus on Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT.

2. Face a fear and visit a snake. It’s a myth that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, but as a patron Catholic saint, it’s not a surprising fable. Snakes have long symbolized evil in the faith, and the ability to supposedly remove them from an entire country makes for a nice story. However, historians claim that there weren’t many snakes in Ireland at all during that time. Still, if you like the snake tie-in to the holiday, why not visit one yourself? Check out your local zoo or science center and face your fears (or simply visit what you consider a cute and slithering friend).

3. Go green in every which way. From taking a bubble bath with green food coloring (don’t worry, it won’t stain your skin if used in moderation) to eating only green goodies all day long, who says you only have to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? Green wigs, makeup, scores of green veggies, green tea ice cream and more are all up for grabs on St. Patrick’s Day. (Plus, if you have kids, it’s an excellent challenge to get them to really eat their greens!)

4. Join a holiday fun run or walk. All over the country there are St. Paddy-themed fun runs and walks, often with shamrock- or luck-infused themes tied into them. St. Patrick’s Day is a Friday this year, meaning there are even more options to squeeze in a workout and start the weekend off right. Costumes are often encouraged.

5. Learn some Irish slang. For many Americans, Irish accents are one of the toughest to understand, and it doesn’t help that the language is full of slang terms we’re unfamiliar with. Spend some time educating yourself on the more confusing phrases, like “craic” (a good time), “olagonin’” (complaining), or “noodle” (a person’s head).

6. Learn a traditional Irish dance. At many parades and family-friendly events, there are complimentary lessons for traditional Irish dancing. Alternatively, you can look around at dance studios and see if anyone is hosting a special themed event. Still no luck? Hunt down a four-leaf clover and check out a YouTube instructional video! There are both performance and traditional dances to test out.

7. Go to an Irish poetry reading. Ireland has produced a number of renowned poets and authors, and on St. Patrick’s Day many bookstores will host readings of Patrick Kavanagh, John Montague, W.B. Yeats and more. You can even try your hand at whipping up a limerick.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your unique style, and look at all the options available in your town. You’ll be surprised by how many family-friendly opportunities there are, as well as delectable traditional Irish dinners all around town.

Fabulous Crafts & Party Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so we have been searching for festive DIY craft and party ideas for this red-hot holiday. In addition to a few Art Truck favorites below, we created a Pinterest Board to share fabulous projects from crafters around the globe that are guaranteed to add creativity and fun to your celebrations at home, school or even at the office – without breaking the bank.

 

Valentine’s Robot Snacks that Kids can Make

You probably know that we have a sweet spot for all things robot, so we couldn’t resist these adorable  Valentine’s robot snacks from Crafty Morning.  Kids at Art Truck parties love making sculptural robots, so we think they’ll have a blast making – and eating – these tasty artworks.

 

 

Painted Flutes make a Party
Fill Painted Flutes with Bubbles

 

Paint + Bubbles = Love

Are you looking forward to toasting your sweetie with bubbles on Valentine’s Day? Add extra romance by painting your own pair of champagne flutes covered with hearts, kisses and love notes. Or make them to give as gifts to a special someone. This project is inexpensive, easy and takes about an hour. It’s a great way to enjoy some creative, quiet time and is also fun with a group.

Champagne flutes come in many sizes and shapes. Dollar Tree stores carry several nice flutes. Best part? They are only $1 each. We like them because they are sturdy and easier to handle while painting. Ikea also offers reasonably priced higher quality flutes that we like, but they are much more fragile. Or consider repurposing glasses you already have on hand for a truly unique artwork.

The palette is key to your success. A simple three-color Valentine’s palette of hot pink, red and gold will make shopping a breeze and ensure that your glasses are Valentine hot.  We recommend using Decoart paint pens to simplify the whole project. Why bother with paints and brushes? These pens work great freehand or to fill in self-adhesive stencils from Plaid or Martha Stewart (our favorites).  Find all supplies at Michaels stores.  For permanent designs follow curing instructions.  Not in love with your flutes? Put them in the dishwasher and wash your art away.

Fun and Frilly Photo Props

Fun and Frilly Props
Fun and Frilly Props

 

 

 

 

 

Guaranteed fun. This instant party is a cinch. Visit a local Party City or Dollar Tree for a fantastic assortment of wearable, posable Valentine’s Day props. We love hot pink and bright red boas, heart shaped or over-sized red glasses, glittery head-bobbles, and lips on sticks. Add self-adhesive red moustaches for endless smiles and giggles. Smile for the camera and instantly share your photos with family and friends on your favorite social network.

Or take instant photos to make unique and adorable Valentine’s Day cards.  We just love Fuji Instax Mini 8 cameras available for $59 at Walmart and Michaels stores. Be sure to buy a twin pack of film because kids will love snapping photos.

Edible Art is Sweet

Edible Art is Sweet

Marshmallow lollipops make terrific edible Valentines. Use food markers to paint messages on marshmallows – we love the supersized marshmallows if you can find them!

Or buy some pretty Pizelles to color with sparkle gels to create shimmering discs of love.

 

We invite you to attend one of The Art Truck’s Valentine’s Day workshops or host your own party with us.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Maura

20 Great Ideas for Goodie Bags that Inspire Creativity

Goodie bags and kids birthday parties go hand-in-hand. Kids love getting them, but figuring out what to put into them can be challenging, pricey and time-consuming for moms. So we thought we’d share some of our favorite party favors to help you create your own goodie bags with minimal effort and maximum satisfaction for everyone.

Most of these wallet-friendly items can be purchased online at Oriental Trading, or at your local Dollar Tree and Party City stores.  All items are guaranteed to inspire creative thinking and play for children 5-8 years old. We especially love mini treats!

  1. Mini watercolor paint sets – These adorable paint kits require minimal water and are great for travel.
  2. Mini canvases – Kids can use mini paints, pencils or crayons to make professional looking miniature artworks to decorate their rooms.
  3. Mini note pads – Kids will love drawing pictures and keeping track of ideas in their very own note pads.
  4. Novelty pencils – Pencils in different colors, shapes and sizes make fun writing and drawing tools for kids.
  5. Novelty erasers – There’s no end to the variety of erasers available – robots, flowers, footballs, Disney figures and more for kids to make lines disappear.
  6. Pencil sharpeners – As with erasers, novelty erasers are fun and practical.
  7. Washi tapes – Easy-to-tear tapes come in a variety of colors and patterns that kids love to use to decorate pages, note pads, boxes, and more.
  8. Clay – Non-hardening clay sticks in multiple colors provide endless possibilities for creating  3-D artworks.
  9. Wiki Stix These waxy, colorful sticks are loads of fun for making figures, spelling names and so much more.
  10. Crayons – A classic coloring tool for young kids.
  11. Glue sticks – A grown-up art/office supply with lots of creative uses.
  12. Mini tapes or scotch tapes – Kids just love taping things together.
  13. Glitter tattoos – Kids also love a little wearable sparkle.
  14. Novelty rings – Smiley face, super-hero, and googly-eye rings are not just for girls.
  15. Jelly and friendship bracelets – These are especially popular with older kids who enjoy trading, collecting and wearing novelty bracelets.
  16. Bouncing Balls – They come in lots of colors and are a hit with boys and girls alike.
  17. Adhesive moustache – Kids love (and adults) love sporting felt moustaches that come in may colors.
  18. Mini bubbles – Who doesn’t love blowing glistening bubbles into the air?
  19. Classic paper blow outs – Younger children love to make a little noise while watching colorful paper rolls unfurl.
  20. Pom poms – The glittery ones are especially fun!