Clay Charms

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With a big batch of clay in the house, we decided to shape some into charm necklaces – they’ll make the perfect gift for the upcoming September birthdays of several relatives!

You can shape your charms in one of two ways. First we tried a butter knife to cut out simple squares or rectangles. This was definitely Travis’s preferred method.

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Alternatively, you can use cookie cutters to fashion your charms into circles.

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We found a bunch of old buttons in our craft box, which made perfect imprints into the clay, like flowers or hearts.

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Once you’re happy with your designs, let the clay set. If you have oven-dry clay, bake according to package instructions. Ours was air-dry clay, so we left it out overnight. While the clay is still soft, poke a hole through each with a toothpick or wooden skewer so you can string it onto a thread later on.

The next day it was time to paint! Watercolor works very well on clay, but you could also use acrylic paint.

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After a swipe or two with a paintbrush, Travis decided it would be much more fun to do watercolors by hand. I laughed and decided why not! The results were surprisingly beautiful.

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Let the charms dry again, then thread twine through the hole in each charm. Voila! A charm necklace.

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Harvest Pasta Salad

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This make-ahead pasta salad, recipe care of High Five magazine, is chalk-full of veggies like late-summer tomatoes and fresh corn. Bonus points if you make your own pesto with the last of summer’s basil, though I confess we used a jarred version (made with kale leaves instead!)


  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan sprinkles
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup cooked green peas
  • 3/4 cup cooked corn
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and toss with the olive oil. Let cool
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the pesto, mayo, and lemon juice in a large bowl – definitely a kid-friendly step!Harvest Pasta (1)
  3. Add the cooled pasta, then sprinkle with the Parmesan, salt, and black pepper.
  4. Fold in the tomatoes, peas, and corn, and serve cold.