Glow-in-the-dark lucky star papers. Maybe we'll save them for halloween.
Ooh, ok, I think this is a pretty good one. We found a video on youtube called Jim Henson on Making Muppets, 1969, from Iowa Public Television. Jim Henson shows children how to make puppets from household objects like socks, potatoes, spoons and tennis balls. It is great!
Augs and I watched it together and then gathered up some materials and made a handful of puppets and little movies.
The dish mop lion, Auggie was very excited to make a pink scarf for the lion because "he was cold".
Wooden spoon puppet.
The pineapple bird. I put on the eyes and Auggie did the nose with a sharpie. By the way, he was horrified by the feeling of his finger in the potato, so we poked a pencil in the bottom and he could hold that instead. I don't have a picture, though — this is my finger. The pineapple bird is the only one who received a name from the Augs, he is special.
I had a bunch of yarn and old knitting swatches out, so these plastic spoon guys have scraps of yarn and a knitting swatch taped on as hair (or hat?). I cut out circles and rectangles out of sticky labels from my studio and gave them to Augs for the faces to colour and place. He was incredibly careful about placing them evenly on the face — he really likes some things to be straight and even. This is an aside, but I was very slightly concerned about how careful he is with crafts, as I don't want him to feel pressured while he makes things — however, yesterday he created a new technique of covering his hands in different colours of ink, yelling "sputz, sputz, sputz" (and also, "look at my fancy nails") and making crazy fingerprint paintings, so I think he's not turning into too much of a perfectionist and it's all ok. Phew.
My favourite part of this guy are the pieces of tape Auggie put over each eye — they are "goggles". Ha!
Here's a version of the shoebox guitar activity (instructions at link) from Sunny. We used a sturdy little giftbox and some paper straws. Auggie had some trouble with the elastic bands so I did that for him, and I cut out the hole with an exacto knife. I think within a year he could tackle this project on his own with safety scissors, but not today. He really loves colouring on black paper so lucky for us we had a black gift box in the closet.
We spent a lot of time making party hats for the guests. Hats are a pretty forgiving sort of shape, so it was a good craft to practice cutting. Putting on pom poms was the most exciting part and led to a lot of running around and discussions about our favourite colours. One of our guests, Bulldog, turned 32 the day after Trudy's party. (Trudy turned 2).
Next it was time to choose the present. A zoo train full of pom poms. We were going to wrap it, but then Auggie decided against it. We then a fun time surprising Trudy with almost every toy in Auggie's room.
And the party food. Well, every good party needs something to go wrong to laugh at later. I earned the nickname "Silly Mama" for putting out ice cream cones for the guests. Auggie found this hilarious and could not believe a body would think of ice cream cones for a party. Once they had been safely cleared away and replaced with a bulb of garlic and two eggs we were ready to carry in the cake and sing happy birthday.
As I am not a talented photojournalist, I couldn't photograph and play at the same time, so I just grabbed the guests and photographed them while dinner was on. By the way, we found this great washable neon paint at Michael's last month, which we used for the hats. And we also had an impromptu wheel painting session midway through the party planning.
The Brooklyn Children's Museum has Kente colouring pages, an Adire tutorial, Adinkra symbols, and other textile activities (colouring pages are on page 20).
Auggie trying out the Adinkra stamps at the Brooklyn Children's Museum.
The child-scale grocery store they had there was fun, too.
The boy in the hat was so cute and so nice.
I was remembering a spread in Mirabella about Valentines made by various artists and designers. One was a painting of hearts, all wonky, and underneath it said, "it is for you that I try to perfect my heart." It made an impression on me as a teenager, I thought it was beautiful.
Anyway, I was noodling around with some scraps of paper that evening, and made an impromptu set of Valentines bookmarks for my booky husband.
Then, because this valentine is often reading several books at once, I made two more. I punched out a loose pair of constellations, one for each of our signs. Then used scraps of gold, silver and pink to colour in the holes by gluing scraps of paper to the back.
I like the way the backs look — little collages.
This weekend we'll be at attending the annual New Year's parade. And we're making classic lanterns for the house.
There a many good tutorials online to make paper lanterns. It couldn't be easier. We didn't use a template, we just folded and cut. It doesn't matter if the cuts are perfectly straight or even. Ours were very uneven and wonky, but you can't really tell at all when they are folded.
We used some red vellum paper we had left over from making mini kites. We punched some flower-shaped holes along the bottom for decoration. We received our decorative hole punch as a party favour and I'm won over. I never would have considered buying one, but we've had a lot of fun with it and Auggie loves it. Some glitter and stickers came next.
We punched two holes in the top to run thread through (we used silver/gold metallic thread leftover from hanging gingerbread ornaments on the tree).
Auggie was into doing some of the cuts for the lantern, but he was more interested in hanging up the red lanterns than decorating them. However, he came up with his own lantern idea, which I really liked.
He took pieces of origami paper (our table had a lot of craft supplies, so he picked out what he liked) and then began making long sticker collages along the middle. He really likes making careful, long strings of stickers right now. Anyway, when he was done, we folded and cut and glued the same way as before and had these train lanterns (with some complimentary emergency vehicles). He was quite proud of them and we hung them over the doors.
It might be hard to read, but the top here image is two pieces of origami paper side by side with stickers down the middle. It has been folded and cut and then flattened out to take the picture.
I love red, yellow pink around the house in the winter.
Last week we took a copy of Leo Lionni's It's Mine out of the library, published by Dragonfly Books. The book is about "three selfish frogs [who] bicker all day long. A bad storm and a big brown toad help them realize that sharing is much more fun". The book comes with a craft idea called make your own toad.
Here is photo workbook of a simplified version made with felt and googly eyes. We made three frogs: Milton, Rupert, and Lydia, and the kindly big brown toad. To make a frog, you will need: rocks, paint, googly eyes or buttons, felt or construction paper, children's glue and scissors.
While the 3 frog rocks were drying we came across a perfectly toad-shaped rock. He was already brown, so we didn't paint him.
Next, we glued on some googly eyes, using children's craft glue.
Then we cut out felt arms (skinny rectangle with one slit cut at the ends) and legs (thicker rectangle with two slits at the ends, then pulled apart a little) and a lily pad.
Then we glued on the legs and placed each frog and toad on a lily pad.
He wasn't happy that I stopped to take a picture (although, even though it's not such a good picture I am terribly fond of him in it), so I had to put the camera down and try again a few months later when he was distracted. It still fits.
The Jasper hoodie is a seamed, hooded sweater. It is knit in Rowan Purelife organic cotton (DK). It is a bit nerve-wracking doing a seamed sweater, since you can't tell how it will fit until you've finished knitting. However, it came together very easily and the diamond pattern is easy and handsome.
Here's a tip: use the Zimmerman trick where you make a buttonhole on each side instead of just one side. At the end you have 2 matching rows of buttonholes along both button bands. Then you use the buttonholes on one side to place the buttons, so they match up perfectly with the holes along the other band.
While searching for the book title online, we came across a site with free vintage baby patterns, like this little pony vest. Looks nice!
Simple shapes with pre-cut holes that your little one can use by sewing around the edges (this isn't a practical sewing project). This activity was originally inspired by a 5-year old boy I spoke to. His kindergarten class has a wooden sewing set which is very popular with the children. Here are instructions and templates so you can make your own sewing set.
This is great for the 3-5 set and is a surprisingly easy craft project to set up.
Instructions are here and a set of templates to download so you can make this at home. There are 4 shapes to sew: Windy's kite, Sunny's guitar, Snowy & Chinook's flower and Foggy & Cloud's boat.
· Card stock (such as an empty cereal box)
· Hole punch
· Shoelace (yarn with scotch tape on the end would work, too)
1. Print out one of our templates.
2. Trace shape from template onto some card stock or cardboard. We used the inside of a cereal box.You can also hold the printed template together with the card stock and cut the shape out directly.
3. Use a standard hole punch to make a series of holes around the shape you have cut out.
4. Child may then use a shoelace to sew around the edge. You may also use a thick piece of yarn with some scotch tape rolled around the end for stiffness to mimic a shoelace.
Some knitters use these to help them design their projects.
Children can make these to learn about colour. Here is a simple kid's project from Wee folk art to make a yarn colour wheel. You could do the same thing with scraps of paper or fabric, if you don't have yarn at your house.
wee folk art via craftzine.
These are very easy to make, and fun! If you know how to make paper dolls, you can do this freehand, using our instructions below, but we've made up instructions and templates with 2 sizes (PDF).
To make paper dolls, just fold a piece of paper in half lengthwise and cut along the fold, leaving 2 long strips of paper. Then fold one of your strips twice into an accordion fold (so you have 4 panels). Then cut out the shape of robot, making sure not to cut the edge of the arm on the fold. You can use a hole punch to make eyes, or draw them on.
Here is a robot shape (click on image to make it easier to see):
We made some mini-robots out of a scrap of silver paper (using a mini-hole punch for the eyes), too. To make a mini robot, you just fold your initial paper lengthwise twice, cut along the folds, leaving you with 4 long strips of paper. Then take one of the strips and fold it accordion-style into 8 sections. Cut the same shape on the top panel.
Update: If you'd like to make these pigs, you can use this basic template — if you leave out the tail it's exactly the same. I just cut the pieces out of a sweater rather than a glove.
I posted earlier about Miyako Kanamori's Sock and Glove (Creating Charming Softy Friends from Cast-off Socks and Gloves). As you can tell from the title, this very sweet and simple book has easy patterns for fashioning stuffed animals from gloves and socks. A few of the patterns, such as the fish we posted about, are suitable for socks that have lost their mates. However, most of the patterns require a pair of socks that are in good condition (including the heels and toes). We don't often have extra pairs of socks in good condition, but we do often have t-shirts and sweaters that get a few holes, snags, tears or worn through the elbows. Could you just cut sock shapes out of the fabric and use the arms for the bits of the pattern calling for a tube shape?
A beautiful pink pullover which accidentally wound up in the dryer + a stripey long sleeve t-shirt with worn elbows provided the opportunity to try it out and yielded 4 pigs and 2 pig t-shirts. The first pig went to a birthday party and was promptly named Rocco and given a flowered kimono to wear over his striped shirt. The remaining 3 are currently waiting for a big bad wolf to join them (although, they've been waiting for more than a year now).
Here are the 3 little pigs: Karate Pig, Friendly Pig and Farmer Pig.
The original dog I tried from the book. A tip if you try these patterns: overstuff. The stuffing gets compacted really quickly.
I've been working on some simple children's scarf patterns, loosely inspired by the windy books (since they all wear scarves). This one is a light, cotton scarf (unisex), inspired by Windy's red scarf. It is very simple and quick to knit and a great first project for anyone wanting to try knitting for the first time. It's also a nice project to knit over the summer and wear in September. The pattern also has a cozier muffler-length version for winter.
Here is a very simple project for beginners: a unisex scarf, sized for adults. This is designed to be a good length to wear Parisian style (when you fold the scarf in half lengthwise, place around neck and pull the loose ends through the centre and pull to tighten). If you would like a muffler length scarf, then you may add length, as indicated in the pattern.
This is inspired by the garter stitch scarf The Lonely Doll knits. (There are less stripes and it is not as long, to make it easier).