Kinder Krafting

Wild Horses

The Rolling Stones Said it best:

“Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses, couldn’t drag me away”
We’ll ride them someday.”…..

Middle childhood (ages 8 to 10) is a time when horses become magical. They are living creatures that can carry a child when his own parents no longer can. (Although part of growing up, this physical separation is a small heart break for many small kids.)

horse-book1

Horses can fill that emotional need to be carried with a fantasy. And because few children have access to a farm or horses, a love for horses is a gentile introduction to the concept of love and longing.

But maybe this just me thinking too much.

My eldest daughter is crazy for horses and I was too at her age. So I bought her my two favorite horse books, which she now likes too. They are: “The Gift of the Sacred Dog” and “The girl who loved Wild horses” by Paul Goble. Both books are based upon Native American legends of the Great Plains. They describe horses as divine creatures who needed special care and respect.

My daughter’s birthday is next week, and she wanted a horse party. So I organized a horse themed craft for the party. As a full disclosure, I searched on Pinterest and found a great pattern, created by a local artist, Ann Wood. I love Ann Wood’s art installation which she created in 2009. She has generously provided the instructions on the Design Sponge Website. (She also has some awesome crafting kits on her own site!)

I loved her interpretation of a herd of wild horses because it reminded me so much of Paul Goble’s stories. The way in which her horses are painted and then grouped together imbues them with  mystical beauty and grace.

So lets get to crafting. I have made a few modifications to Ann Wood’s directions. One was to replace the buttons with brads. Another was to use more kid friendly materials.

horses-supplies

Supplies:

Heavy to Medium weight Card-stock paper

1/8″ round paper punch

Paper clips or Binder Clips

Long Popsicle sticks or wide paper straws

Glue sticks or Rubber cement

School Glue

Sequins, Stickers, Glitter glue, Markers or Glitter

Brads and Brad Eyelets -3/16″

Small google eyes

Directions:

  1. Cut out two copies of the horse template by hand. I used Ann Wood’s template to cut out the horses using my Silhouette Cameo Machine and a Pixscan mat. horse-photoscanhorse-blog(Yes, this is totally cheating. But I got 12 horses to make! Each horse requires two copies of paper. That’s 168 little body parts!)
  2. Glue pieces of duplicate parts together. Place the differnet pieces of the horse in position. One pair of legs, should be under the body and one pair on top of the body. Hold it all together with binder clips or paperclips.
  3. Locate the center of the leg joints and place a dot there. Use a 1/8″ hole punch on this dot. (The doubled paper will be too thick to punch all at once so you will have to punch the top leg first, use the hole in this leg to make a mark on the body below. Next punch the body, mark the leg below and lastly punch the leg below with the whole.)
  4. Take the body or each leg separately.  Place a 3/16″ eyelet in one hole.  Place the paper and eyelet between two old dictionaries and press down hard to flatten the eyelet’s collar. Repeat (You can also use an Eyelet Punch and save your book covers from dents.) Each moving piece should now have it own eyelet. (This mult-eyelet assembly will allow the legs frequently with less damage to the paper.)
  5. Attach the back leg, body and front leg together with a brad. Repeat with the other pair of legs.
  6. Glue the eye, tail and mane in place. Decorate the horse with glitter, stickers and sequins.
  7. When decorations are dry, glue a Popsicle stick to the back of your horse with school glue.

    Horseassembly-7

    All Done!

 

 

 

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School Spirit in Patches- Quilting by Students.

My best school memories are from Kindergarten. My Teacher’s name was Mrs. Swan and she owned a farm with her husband. She loved taking the class to her farm for field trips. We even got a Pumpkin picking trip and hayride back to school out of the deal. Well, whatever, I still think that was super cool.

Oh the Nostalgia!

Oh the Nostalgia! Just kidding my elementary school was built during the Eisenhower administration. It was single story concrete block construction and it had a flat concrete slab roof with carport.

Now I know that my kids, who live in Brooklyn, will never have the same experience as me. And this is not particularly bad. After all, my kindergartener and second grader get to skate at Rockefeller Center and are serious doughnut connoisseurs. But there are moments when nostalgia for a bucolic childhood weakens me and I do crazy things. LIKE volunteer to organize and make a class quilt project. Yes that was totally crazy.  Again Cray Cray.

The basic concept of a Class Quilt is to give each student a white cotton square of fabric and have them draw with fabric markers images that describe their heritage, family or neighborhood. The fabric squares are then collected, ironed and sewn into a quilt that displays their collective heritage and school spirit.

Let’s go through it.

Supplies:

  • 1 White cotton Layer Cake of fabric (A layer cake is quilting slang for 40 pieces 10″ by 10″ squares of light weight cotton.)
    Depending upon the quilt design which you wish to use, you may want to cut down your cotton squares before the kids get them. I have found that 10″ square make a huge quilt while 8″ squares leave enough room without the extra 2″. I asked the kids to leave a 1″ border on the cotton squares so I could leave room for seam allowances ect, but they totally ignored this.
  • One or two Jelly roles. These are packages of fabric composed of 2-1/2″ strips. The strips are perfect for making sashes which are placed between the blocks.
  • Colored Fabric Markers. Make sure that they are designated as fabric markers and not just permanent like a Sharpie. (Sharpie does make specific fabric markers which are good. But I prefer Tulip.)
  • Light Box. Or just get the app to make your iPad into a light box. It’s called Light Box Illuminator Viewer.
  • Masking Tape (blue painters tape.)
  • Stencils or black and white photocopies of Flags, country shapes, symbols or figures.
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Quilt pattern or simple idea of how you want to layout the patches.
  • Sewing Machine with an adjustable blindhem foot or a 1/4″ quilting foot.
  • White Standard weight thread.
  • Bobbin Washers
  • Various cotton fabric depending upon which pattern you choose. Most of my fabric was bought on Etsy. But the most simple of quilts will only need one Jelly Roll either in a solid color or varied patterns to be used for sashes. (Again a Jelly Roll is quilter slang for 40 strips of fabric measuring 44″ by 2.5″)
  • Rotary cutter, ruler and board.
  • Square-up template

Directions for the Kids:

  1. Sketch out your designs on pencil and paper. Think about images which celebrate your family, your heritage, your community or all three. Then outline your designs with black marker on the paper.
  2. In school transfer the drawing to a fabric square and color it with fabric markers.
  3. If transfer is difficult use stencils, a light box or shapes that you can trace around to help you.
  4. Be sure to have you name or initials on the fabric but not too close to the edge.

Notes to Consider:

It is very important before you start this project that you pick out quilting pattern to follow. This is because the pattern will determine the size of the fabric pieces that you give to the kids. (I really recommend using fabric pieces of 6″ or larger.) The pattern will also determine the finished size of your quilt. (Otherwise you could end up with a huge quilt or a lap size quilt.) You must also consider the total number of student patches to be integrated into a design and use this number to select your pattern. The smaller the class the more flexibility you may have with pattern selection. If you have more than 20 students, simple is better.

Since I am still new to quilting and not exactly a pro, I decided that the easiest method  for me was to pick a pattern which required the minimal need to have exact corners meet. I chose a pattern called “A slice of Life” from Missouri Star quilting.heritagequilt-missouri If this pattern seems too complicated, because you really have to keep track of your block orientation, just use a simple frame pattern. I would recommend the French Window Panes from Sweet Jane. Sue Pfau’s book Quilts from Sweet Jane has loads of other options too.

Directions for the Adult:

  1. To set the fabric marker designs, lightly iron each student patch with the design facing down. Make sure that your iron has absolutely no water inside. Do not wash these patches either! If you are concerned about your ironing board discoloring, place a sheet parchment paper down first.
  2. At this point you can proceed with your own pattern if you choose. I followed the above pattern for one quilt. (But cray-cray me. I volunteered for another class quilt too. Needless to say, the second quilt had a simpler design.)
  3. To start, thread your machine and place a bobbin washer in your bobbin case (if you have a top-loading bobbin case). This will prevent knotting of the thread while sewing. Don’t forget that unlike regular sewing, quilting only has a 1/4″ seam allowance. So use the quilting foot or adjustable blind hem foot.heritagequilt-sashinng
  4. As per my pattern directions, I made six huge nine-patch blocks with 2″ sashing. (Each nine-patch block had 4 student blocks, one on each corner. The four center blocks were made from patterned fabric.) (6 nine-blocks x 4 student designs per nine-block = 25 spaces  the for students) heritagequilt-blocka
  5. After this I cut down each large nine-patch into four blocks (each 16.5″ by 16.5″.)The cuts were made a cross vertically down the middle and horizontally through the middle of the nine-patch…………. Because the final block orientation of these new blocks were to be different from the initial giant nine-patches; I had come up with a system, layout and a key.The arrows on the key indicated which way up should be for the student block.

    As per my diagrams the letters are located above the grid and numbers are located on the grid’s side. This system worked like a Punnett Square. Each new square was labeled by the location in its original nine-patch. (Example A1, A2, B1, B2, ect.) The layout had each space for a student design labeled. So by looking at the final block orientation and location, I could go back to the initial nine-patch block diagrams and determine the correct orientation to sew each student block in its nine-patch. (Yes, I know my brain hurts too.) But you can use a new app called Quitography to test out a design before the massive headache.

  6. I squared up each 16-1/2″ patch. This means that I re-measured each patch and cut it down as necessary. (Don’t panic if many of your patches are less than 16-1/2″! Just cut an extra 1/4″ around each patch so that every patch is now 16″ by 16″.) You must use a “square-up” acrylic template for this.
  7. Sew your patches back together to form your quilt top. Congratulations, you are halfway there.
  8. But this was too complicated for another quilt!
    So you can tell that the second quilt’s pattern was much simpler with a ladder pattern.

At this point if you are a beginning quilter like me, I would really recommend to send your quilt out to be basted, quilted and bound. This means that a professional will create a quilt sandwich, sew that sandwich together and then finish the edges.

I would recommend sending your quilt to Missouri Star Quilting. They are super nice, profession and reasonable in terms of time. They did a fantastic job on mine.

All Done!

All Done!

Angel Tree-Topper

So again I am posting about a craft that I did for our Sunday School Class. I wanted something that the kids could give as a gift to their parents for Christmas. And I think that it is important for kids to a feel the sense of pride in giving to others that they love.

Materials:

Directions for Adults:

  1. Use your Screwdriver and 5/16″ Drill bit to make a whole in each sphere. This is where you shall put the cone’s tip to make the angel’s body and head.angel-4
  2. Paint your cones with white acrylic paint, your spheres with flesh-tone paint and your Stars with Gold paint . Each object may need two to three layers of paint. Cut off hanging strings. Wait until completely dry.         angel-1
  3. Use a carpenters awl to make two wholes in the cone’s sides for the arm holes. Make sure that the arm holes align.angel-3
  4. Push your sphere onto the cone’s tip as far as possible. The hole in the sphere will get larger. Otherwise, make the hole larger by cutting out from the original hole. Remove the sphere. Use the glue gun to attach the sphere to the cone and dry upside down.                     angel-2
  5. Thread one pipe cleaner  through your holes in the body. Trim the pipe cleaner 1″ and upturn the ends to resemble hands.angel-5
  6. With the glue gun, glue the gold stars to the body and wrap the arms around the star so that the angel looks like it is holding it.                                   angel-6

Directions for Kids:

  1. Decorate the faces and hair of the angels with goggle eyes, red felt, yarn  craft glue. Do this first so that it will dry first.
  2. Create the wings from the tulle ribbon by folding the ribbon over itself a few times and secure in the middle with another piece of tulle or white ribbon in a knot. Glue or staple to the angels back and fluff out the tulle. (I personally like the stapler best because when 12 kids need help attaching the wings, the glue takes too long.)   angel-7
  3. Decorate your angels body with ribbon, glitter or even stickers.
  4. Add colored yarn to the head for hair.angel-8
  5. Flatten your silver cupcake sleeve on the table. Place some glue in the middle and attach to the back of the angle’s head.

Congratulations on your beautiful angle for the tree!finished angels

 

Gingerbread Joseph

I usually don’t blog about my Sunday School crafting because I don’t like to talk politics or religion. But because the amount of work that I have to do leading up to Christmas is staggering. I will take a post topic where I can get it.

So, as disclosure, I teach Sunday School to the pre-school crowd at my church. The schedule is: read a Bible story, do the craft, go to the bathroom, eat a snack, say a prayer and then bye-bye. Its sounds simple but the kids really got my number and only a double shot of espresso gets me through.

Brothers Sell Joseph into Slavery Konstantin Flavitsky, 1855

Brothers Sell Joseph into Slavery
Konstantin Flavitsky, 1855

So this week’s story was Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors. Basically Jacob has 12 sons and his favorite is Joseph. Jacob gives Joseph a beautiful and expensive robe. (Kinda like giving your 16 year-old a red convertible.) Understandably, the other brothers go crazy with envy. So they throw Joseph down a well and sell him into slavery in Egypt. Eventually things work out and Joseph forgives his brothers. Father Jacob and the rest of the family come to live with Joseph in Egypt during a famine and stay. This nicely explains how the Hebrew people end up in Egypt which leads to Moses and the Exodus. Next week’s class is Baby Moses in the Nile River.

coatofcolors2

Materials for Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors:

  • One pack foam Gingerbread men (I got mine at Micheal’s Crafts) But you and also trace a cookie cutter on colored card stock.foam
  • White cotton cloth, I used white cotton from a Junior Layer Cake.fabric2
  • Colored Scraps of Fabric, most of mine were from a quilting project and were cut in smaller pieces.
  • Google eyes
  • Fabric glue
  • Stapler
  • Black marker or Sharpie

Directions:

  1. Cut the cotton into a small tunic
  2. Place the tunic on the foam man and staple into place.

    Staple Tunic at the sides

    Staple Tunic at the sides

  3. Give kids dressed men, fabric glue in small bowls with brushes or Q-tips and fabric scraps.
  4. Help kids to attach the fabric scraps to the white tunic with paste. Help them to glue on eyes and draw in face and hair.coatofcolors4

All Done!

S.S.O.S…… Surprise School project Oh-no! Stash

It’s the third week of school and by now an easily forgettable sheet of paper has been sent home. What message does this sheet contain? Why a class project of course!

Now, if you are like me, everyday is kinda like groundhog day. Various rounds of cleaning, cooking, caring and hauling, followed by regular periods of sleep deprivation. And just when you think that the day is done; ahhh rest time……… the sheet….. it reappears. And the due date for this school project? Why tomorrow of course!

At this point you either project the stare of death towards the offending child who really isn’t sure what day of the week it is…… much less the actual date. Or you silently curse a blue streak because you might of seen this sheet before. But at this point, it is all a blur. What to do? Can this ugly conundrum be avoided?

A basic set of supplies at home (although this will not restore your sleep deficit) might save the day.


supplies

S.S.O.S. Emergency List:

  • Poster board (White 18″x 24″ min.): Storing it is tall order for any small apartment but believe me, when you need it, you really need it. Keep it clean of dust by covering it with two large plastic bags taped together before you stash it behind a dresser or under the bed.
  • White Paper Roll: Most of us have 8-1/2″x 11″ white printer paper in the house anyway. But a larger white roll from IKEA or Melissa and Doug will come in handy for larger projects. As a bonus, you can use it for wrapping paper in a pinch.
  • Sticker Letters: Most projects need a title. The large letters that stick on and off means that you don’t have to get another poster board when your child misspells a word. The foam stickers create visual interest but flat stickers hold up better.  Two to three sets of letters in different sizes is a good idea. Mambi, American Crafts thickers and EK Success are quality brands.
  • Glue: Keep three types on hand: Craft Tacky Glue, glue sticks and Rubber Cement. Tacky Glue is for fabric, glitter and  3-dimensional objects like beads or string. Glue sticks are not super useful but work well for small collages of newsprint, magazine clippings or colored paper. (A glue stick’s bond is not strong enough for glossy photographs, although they may stay put for a short time period) Rubber Cement is a must and far superior to Elmer’s school glue. Unlike school glue, it will not cause light paper to warp, nor dyes to bleed (markers, colored paper etc.), and it works well in high humidity.
  • Colored Markers: These are necessary for both lettering and drawing. But careful around water if they are washable markers. Keep one set stashed away or one project night you will find that all the good colors are missing their caps and dried out.
  • Colored Pencils: Colored pencils should be used instead of crayons on glossy surfaces. They don’t have a crayon’s waxy residue which interferes with a water-based glue’s bonding. But colored pencils only work when they are sharp, so don’t forget the Alvin Dux Pencil Sharpener!
  • Shoe Boxes: Have you bought dress shoes recently? Yes? Then save the box. It should be large, clean, have no distracting logos and a detached lid. Not only can you store your art supplies in it but you can use it. A Diorama project seems to pop-up at least once a year.

    Dino Diarama

    Dino Diorama

  • Colored Card Stock: Card stock is preferable to colored paper due to it’s higher quality. Over-time, (6 months) the dye in colored paper can bleach out and it’s colors can bleed with a water-based glue. Get a card stock 8-1/2″x 11″ multi-colored pack instead.
  • Sharp Scissors: This is obvious. (There are 10+ scissors floating around my house.) However, you should have one scissors designated for clean paper, one scissors for food products (washing machine safe of course) and one scissors for fabric. Using your fabric scissors to cut anything other than fabric will damage and dull them into uselessness.
  • Masking Tape: This tape can be placed on glossy poster board as a guideline and then gently removed. Scotch Brand tape now has colored masking tape which can be used for decorative borders or to secure pictures without damage.
  • Stickers: This may seem frivolous but they do save time and frustration. Why? Because they fill blank spaces and give projects a more finished look. Buy stickers that are holiday, season or activity specific. Think sports, leaves, snowflakes, flowers, beach toys, animals, hearts and stars. (Yes sticker are expensive, but if you follow the sales at Michael’s Crafts, you can get many stickers for 50% off.)

    Diorama made with Model Magic

    Diorama made with Model Magic

  • Model Magic: This stuff is great. It combines the best properties of clay and play-dough in one product. It dries in 6 hours, it is very malleable for small hands and comes lots of colors. Need to make a diorama of the Jurassic period? How are the dinosaurs and prehistoric plants going to stay standing up straight? (A Glue Gun would work but you don’t want burnt fingers and a trip to the emergency room too.) Placing them in a layer of model magic is the solution.
  • Cork-backed Metal Ruler: This is a tool which you will wonder how you did without. The 24″ metal ruler is great for drawing straight lines and it’s cork backing prevents slips. (If you ever use an X-acto Knife you must use one of these rulers to protect your finger tips.)
  • Hole Punch: The standard size is 1/8″ and this may come in handy for other household projects.
  • Small Pack of Paper Fasteners: These guys make excellent moving joints for paper cut outs.
  • Sharpie Marker: This almost goes without saying.
  • Yarn or String: It doesn’t matter which. But is good to have on hand for hair, clouds or other decorative elements. A pack of Lion Brand Bonbon yarn provides a manageable amount of yarn in multiple colors.
  • Foam Core Board: This stuff is fantastic for mounting purposes. (Remember that three-sided science fair project?) Smaller 11″x 14″ pieces can be glued to the back of poster board for extra strength. However, this stuff is not environmentally friendly so try to limit the amount that is used.

Save This Stuff! Inherently, living in New York means that you shouldn’t horde anything. (Please tell my in-laws that the great plastic bag 25 cent tax will not come in this decade so they can stop filling their cabinets with them.) Ideally, we recycle all of these things. But why not put them to one more use before they proceed down the waste stream?

  • Brown Paper Bags: Grocery or smaller brown shopping bags. They are great for masks, paper mâché projects and even costumes. (In the 4th grade, I made a Sacagawea costume from brown paper bags, staples, string and pony beads.)
  • White paper board: These are the little white inserts inside packaging for tights, pantyhose, pressed shirts and underwear packs. These have more strength than card stock but much thinner than cardboard. They also have a nice glossy finish so they can be fashioned into anything. (In 7th grade, I made a deck of home-made playing cards based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s books with these in lieu of an essay . Yes, totally dorky, I know.)
  • Plain Shoe Boxes: (See Above.)
  • Egg Cartons: These are not allowed in my school due to egg allergies but they make great paint pots in a pinch at home!
  • Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Rolls: Try to keep one of each on hand. I always see these being used in new inventive ways….. none of which I can recall right now. hum.
  • Dry Cleaning Bag: Your child’s project is done! But how do they transport it to school on a rainy day? Wrap it up and keep it dry with a dry cleaning bag!

Time for School!

Goodbye to Summer! Yay! “Oh sorry my poor little darlings, back to school. Really I wish that you could stay at home and drive me crazy but there are truancy laws.”

With the knowledge that her free days were limited, my soon-to-be kinder-gardener kept asking me what day of the week it was and how many more days until the first day of school. She also wanted to know what month it was but kept confusing months with seasons.

This got me thinking about how I first processed the passing of time when I was young. And to be honest, I still process it in the same manner. When I think of time (days, months & years) a game board image (very similar to Candyland or a spinner)  pops up. The months and the seasons have always been an oval that you travel along in a counter-clockwise fashion. The counter-clockwise rotation must have come from my Grandpa’s influence. This is because when you stand on a month and face the center of the oval you are facing the best light of the season for plants. (ie. You want your plants in a south-facing window during the winter.) The days were always in a standard clock-wise rotation.

So I made two charts.

One chart has the months of the year in a circle with the seasons in side the ring of months. I made a cover for the circle so that a child can isolate the months by season for easier comprehension. I have made a simpler chart for the days of the week. I helped my girls to color the charts while we talked about which holidays came in which month and season. Soon we had a cool way to talk about how fall is coming and what activities we have to look forward to.

Instructions

    1. Print out the above sheets and let the kids color the charts.timechart-direction1
    2. Cut out the charts and the covers. Glue the charts and covers onto a stronger piece of paper like card stock or colored paper. Once the glue is set, cut out the covers.
      seasons-month
      months-cover
      days-week
      week-cover
    3. Punch a whole in the center of the charts and their covers. (If needed, lightly bend the larger paper in half to punch the center whole.) Place the covers over their charts and connect with a brad. This way the covers can rotate to reveal what season or day it is. If you have trouble with the cover rotating cut out two smaller circles and place between the chart and the cover. (This is like adding a metal washer a hing assembly.)
    4. You kids can also use stickers and other embellishments (magazine images, cut outs from wrapping paper ect.) to further decorate the charts.

timechart-direction5

 

Tiny Town

Oh Summer! Why are you soooo long? I am reminded this time every summer, why I will never home-school. The usual options: McCarren pool, Dumbo merry-go-round, the Queens zoo, Pier 54 and even Ikea, have all been exhausted. Now, my kids seem to have little ambition to do anything other than watch television and free-range from my refrigerator. The situation is further exasperated by the heat and the rain. What to do?

In a fit of desperation, I made a plan. Literally a town plan. Welcome to Tiny Town. All the materials that I used were from my stock of craft supplies. (Yes, my stock is much larger than your average, but all of these materials can be substituted with ease.)


Materials:

  • 24″x36″ Foam-core board or cardboard from a clean collapsed non-food box (Never bring cardboard into your house that was used to store food! I will spare you the details but cardboard that has touched the sidewalk and housed food will 9/10 times carry roach eggs too.)
  • Green poster board or card stock (I prefer card stock to colored paper.) However gift wrap, Kraft paper or even newspaper will work.
  • Rubber Cement (I recommend this over a water-based glues because the paper will not curl up in the humidity.)
  • Little boxes (The white gift boxes  can be found at Michael’s Crafts or Hallmark and I like them best.) You can also use smaller boxes from tooth paste, ban-aids, soap bars, toilet paper rolls, berry boxes or whatever you can find.
  • Black masking tape or Blue painters tape.
  • Scotch Tape to close up boxes.
  • Colored masking tape or Washi tape. (My favorite kind is the Japanese brand Mt.)
  • Paper or plastic straws for trees and chimneys. (The best product is really a cardboard tampon applicator, but you might not want to get into that.)
  • Pom-pom balls, roving wool, crumpled tissue paper or thick yarn for foliage. Your kids can also draw flowers on the paper with crayons too.
  • Sharpie or colored markers.
  • Scissors
  • Toys: cars, little figurines or whatever your kids want to incorporate.

Construction:

  1. Glue the colored paper to foam-core with rubber cement. Secure the paper seams with washi tape. Tape around the board’s boarder.
  2. Make the buildings. You can cover most boxes with white paper and have the kids decorate them. I totally cheated because I got three sets of gift boxes that look like houses from Daiso in San Francisco. (When, oh when will Daiso open in New York?)
  3. Let the kids layout the roads, place the dividing lines, place the buildings and play.

My daughter wanted to take over almost immediately. She laid out the roads and placed the buildings. I wanted to glue down the buildings but she objected saying: “I want to change it when I want.” So I let her get to work.

So after all this, I wanted to get in on the action and started to make my own town. So I laid down another board and glued down EVERYTHING! After it was all done we connected the boards at the streets. So much fun. Tomorrow we are going to Flying Squirrel to get more second-hand match-box cars.

Ojo de Dios

Ojos de Dios means god’s eye and is a traditional mystic symbol of Native-Americans in the southwest. They have traditionally been created for celebration or blessing, presented as a gift or designed to bless a home. Often they reflect a confidence in all-seeing Providence.

Ojos de Dios are frequently woven as a meditation. They can also be woven to promote thoughtful connections among a group. I have come to think of them as a small child’s first experience with the fiber arts. They are easier to work with than a french knitter or pot holder.

Making the craft

Kids at a fair


godseye-materials

Materials:

Wood Craft Stir-Sticks (You can raid the local coffee place too)
Lion Brand Bonbons Yarn (A multi-colored, variegated, yarn works well for smaller kids because you don’t have to change the yarn.)
Scissors
Elmer’s School Glue

Directions:
Say These Words: OVER, UNDER and OVER again
Repeat 5 times. Great! Let’s get started.
1. Make a slip knot: Wrap your index finger twice. Pick up the inside Loop (A) and cross it over the outside Loop(B) towards the end of the finger. Then pick up Loop B, cross it over Loop A towards the finger tip. Finally bring Loop B over the finger tip. Pull tight on both ends of the yarn. Congratulations, you have made a slip-knot.

2. Hold two stir-sticks together. Thread the sticks through the slip-knot and tighten the knot at the middle of the sticks. Turn the sticks perpendicular to each other. (You can place a small dot of glue on both sides of the sticks at this intersection. But this is not necessary.) Wrap the yarn around the sticks in a cross or X several times to stabilize the sticks.

3. Now for the Fun:

A. OVER. To start take the yarn from behind. Pull the yarn over the nearest stick.
B. UNDER. Bring the yarn under this same stick.
C. OVER AGAIN. Wrap the yarn from behind (under) and cross over the top of the same stick again. Then pull the yarn over the next stick to the left.
D. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.

(I am working in a clock-wise direction. You can work in a counter-clock-wise direction too but you should continue which ever direction you have chosen throughout. If you are unsure of which direction you were wrapping, just wrap the yarn around the nearest stick a few times and continue in either direction.)

Alternate your yarns for different colors and textures. For an inverted layer, turn the Ojos de Dios over and continue to wrap: over, under, over.

The dark blue and yellow layers are inverted.

The dark blue and yellow layers are inverted.

Puppets are not…. so scary

Yeeh!
It is the middle of June and the school year is winding down. The last big project of the school year is here….Puppets. Yes, normally a sock, fabric markers and google eyes would work but hey, I need a project to blog about.

Materials

Materials

Materials:
3″ Foam ball with rough surface
3/8″ x 12″ Wood dowel
Large 4 oz. package of Crayola Model Magic in skin color
Variety pack of Model Magic in primary colors
Pack of T-pins
Twist Ties
Glue Gun and glue sticks
Styrofoam Glue
2 Rubber bands
Electric drill with 3/8″ drill bit
1 Popsicle stick
Ball of yarn (thick as possible for hair)
Toilet paper tube
Felt fabric, colored foam sheets and any other embellishments for your puppets clothing.


Directions:
1. Spread the skin colored Model Magic (MM) over the foam ball. (It is important to use a foam ball with holes. Firstly, the Model Magic will adhere to the foam better. Secondly, air flow through the holes will allow for the MM to dry evenly and thus prevent cracking.) Make sure that the Model Magic covers all the foam uniformly and is not too thick. Roll the ball on a smooth clean surface to even out.


2. Clear a penny sized area of the foam at the base of the puppet’s head. Use the electric drill to make a hole in the foam ball to a maximum of 3/4″ depth. Glue the wood dowel into the foam ball and let the puppet’s head air-dry. (You must use a wood glue or foam glue to attach the dowel. Hot glue will melt the foam inside the head.)


3. While the glue dries make your puppet’s features out of Model Magic from the primary colors. (A small clean cup glass will support the head while you work.)


4. Use T-pins and hot glue to attach yarn for your puppet’s hair.


5. Cut a Circle about 6″ in diameter out of the felt fabric. (I used a salad plate as a template.) Fold the circle into a cone and cut a small hole at the tip. Thread the dowel through this hole and tighten the felt at the puppet’s neck with a rubber band or twist tie. This will be the puppet’s shirt.


6. Glue a popsicle stick perpendicular to the wood dowel and secure with twine in an X. The popsicle stick are the puppet’s arms. (Paint the popsicle stick ends before attaching them.) Cut two small slits in the puppet’s shirt and thread the popsicle stick ends through. Then glue the felt in place. Wrap a rubber band around the wood dowel just below the popsicle stick.


8. If you want a skirt for your puppet, cut a 8″ diameter circle from a foam sheet and then cut a pie slice from the circle. Wrap the foam around the dowel and above the rubber band. Hot glue the foam skirt together. Then Secure the skirt in place with hot glue from below.


9. For pants glue felt around a toilet paper tube with 1″ extra felt over the tube’ end. Place this felt over-lap above the rubber band and synch the felt into place with a twist tie. Then hot glue the tube in place from below with a glue gun. Take a fabric marker and draw two lines (one in front, one in back) for the pant legs.
10. Decorate your puppets as desired.
puppet-msgreenemsmari2

Pass the Parcel – Birthday Mania

I adore my kids. They are so cute and funny. But one of my great joys of parenthood is to witness the animal tendencies of my offspring.

I love this man.

Don’t get a Brain freeze!

“Want to roll around in the grass like a dog? Sure, never mind that deer poop.” “What, you drank that entire 22 oz slushee and now your brain feels like it’s going to explode?…. Well, it happens.” But  my favorite parent moment is … the greedy birthday treat tussle.

You know, that part of a kid’s birthday party were the kids fight over cheap plastic toys, various individually wrapped candy and other crap? Awesome. In America, this moment comes at the breaking of the pinata. (Or as my kids pronounce it: PIN-YAH-DA) This game is usually followed by another game: musical chairs. This is the party game in which kiddies shove and push their way to chair pouncing dominance.

They look excited.

They look excited.

In England they have a slightly more sedate and space restricted version of this mania: Pass the Parcel. (I use the word sedate with some irony, because without a strong referee, the situation can quickly degenerate into Lord of the Flies.)

The main purpose of Pass the Parcel is to pass a large crepe paper ball around a circle of kids to any musical tune. (Although Around the Mulberry Bush seems ideal.) Inside the crepe paper ball is one really good prize surrounded by smaller, less valuable prizes at different intervals. When the music stops the lucky kid holding the ball gets to unwrap it until they get to a prize. Then the music starts up again. And thus comes the fun of watching the kids snatch and then hoard the Parcel in a semi-organized fashion. As the ball gets smaller the kids get increasingly desperate because the odds of getting a prize decrease while conversely, the odds of getting a better prize increases.

Now Let’s Make A Parcel!

Some prize options

Some prize options

Materials:
1 Roll of crepe paper (standard 1-3/4 width)
1 Roll of crepe paper in a different color
1 Small-sized extra-good prize for the center (Tie-dyed jump rope.)
3 to 4 Smaller decent prizes for the middle (Japanese erasers that are shaped like animals)
4 to 5 Flat cheap prizes for the outer layers. (Stickers, award ribbons, small candy, ect.)
Washi Tape- (I prefer MT Washi tape. But masking tape is a good substitute because it doesn’t rip the crepe paper.)
Wrapping paper -less than a 24″x24″ piece is needed
Ribbon or tulle to finish off the ball.

*You may want to adjust the number of prizes to the number of guests or the estimated guests’ attention span.

Directions:
Step A: Wrap the best prize with wrapping paper and regular gift tape.
Step B: Wrap the smaller decent prizes with wrapping paper. Leave the outer prizes unwrapped.
Step C: Wrap the center package with crepe paper. Do not tape the crepe paper to the package but tightly wrap it to cover the prize.
Step D: When the prize is covered, tape the crepe paper in place with washi tape. Place one mid-value prize package on top of the crepe paper parcel.
Step E: Take the second roll of crepe paper and wrap the package. Again, do not tape the crepe paper to the package but tightly wrap it to cover the prize.
Step F: Repeat steps D and E until all the mid-value prizes are incorporated into the ball. Switch the color of the crepe paper with each layer so that the kids know when to stop unwrapping.
Step G: Wrap the outer prizes flat against the parcel. Repeat step E until all the remaining prizes are in the parcel.
Step H: Tape the crepe paper in place with Washi tape. Hold (do not tape) one outer layer unwrapped prize to the quickly expanding parcel. Wrap the prize with crepe paper in a contrasting color, use washi tape. Repeat until all the remaining prizes are in the parcel.
Step I: Tie a 1″ ribbon or tulle around the parcel and double back to form a loose bow. (This may prevent peeking until the start of the game.)
Done. Yeh!

Happy Birthday everyone!
Peppa Pig – Pass the Parcel