Hi again! Between quite a succession of colds and coughs and the beautiful weather, we haven't had a lot of structured craft time at home for awhile. So we are behind on our weekly posts, but there are several queued up now, so visit again next week for more.
I've been working on some sun hats — moving forward slowly :)
Yesterday I had the sewing machine out, and my son was drawing. I asked him if he wanted to draw on some of my fabric and we decided to make a stuffy. He was planning to make Snufkin, so we found some green linen on my fabric box. However, to nobody's surprise he eventually made a truck and he loves it (secretly, to us, it does look quite a bit like a creature, but that tail is a ramp and those legs are wheels). In a perfect world, we would have had fabric markers around, but our home is quite far from perfect and we used a pencil & felt pen instead. This is how we made it.
· 2 big scraps of fabric
· pencil, felt pen or other marker
· sewing machine
· needle & thread
· stuffing (you can also use scraps of fabric, yarn, rice or dried beans)
to think about before getting started
· if you're using new fabric, or fabric that's been stored a long time, you may want to wash and dry the fabric first — especially if it will be cuddled by a young child.
· choose a time when you won't be rushed — this will take about an hour to finish and more if one of the steps goes wrong. you could even do one part before school and the second part after school.
· place your iron, pins and scissors out of reach of your child while you are sewing so you can relax while you make. before you begin you can explain the different tools to your child: how they work and how to be safe around them.
· if you are using permanent markers, place a mat under the fabric so you won't mark up your table. the pen is likely to bleed through. we used a washable marker.
1. Take one piece of fabric (Fabric A) and lay it on a work surface. Tape down the edges at intervals so your child can draw without the fabric slipping around too much.
2. When they've completed their drawing, you can use a pencil or chalk to draw a line around the drawing. This will be your line for cutting — leave about 1/2 an inch of space all around the drawing. Before you do this, explain what you are drawing to your child. Draw your line slowly and check with your child as you go so that they are choosing the shape. An older child can draw this line herself.
3. Place a second piece of fabric (Fabric B) under your Fabric A. Use a few pins to hold them together and then cut around your line from Step 2. You will have two pieces of fabric cut in the shape of your child's drawing.
4. Unpin the pieces. By the way, a young child who has trouble pinning may enjoy pulling out the pins and putting them back in the pin box. This was one of my son's favourite parts. Flip the pieces over so that the drawing is facing the inside. Repin
5. Sew around the edges using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Leave a gap so you can turn the stuffy inside out and stuff.
6. Before turning right side out, cut notches into the seam where there are curves.
7. Turn inside out. You may need a chopstick, tweezers and some patience to get the skinny areas turned out. Stuff. We used a mixture of store-bought stuffing and some old scraps of fabric and quilt batting. You can decorate with scraps of felt or buttons (we didn't).
8. Done! We made some fun videos starring the stuffy, too.
Recently we did another “Windy” school visit to South Pointe Academy in Tsawwassen. After reading Snowy & Chinook, two kindergarden classes wrote and illustrated their own Windy-inspired story about a trip to the Animal History Museum. Here are some of the amazing animals they made for their story. Can you see which is the elephant, bunny, fish, penguin, leopard and dinosaur?
Our first Easter post was bunny origami, from the book Windy. Here is another Easter origami craft. This one is origami easter baskets — adapted from this pattern for a newspaper bin from origami club (I found following the animation easier than following the diagram, by the way) which I found via pinterest on my paper board.
I don't like buying a lot of plastic Easter materials which only live in the house a few days. Here is an upcycled basket which is fun to make. Oh, I did break down and buy some commercial stickers ^_^
I tried these out with some friends and neighbours. This basket is by our neighbour W., aged 4.
origami easter baskets
M A T E R I A L S
—sheet of newspaper (or very large sheet of rectangular paper)
— 1 or 2 strips of paper about 1/2 -inch by 11 inches (you can cut a strip lengthwise from a standard) letter-size sheet of paper or use lucky star strips, which we did)
— decorations such as feathers, stickers, rhinestones, washi tape
— extra newspaper or coloured paper cut into strips to be filling for the basket (optional)
I N S T R U C T I O N S
— fold newspaper according to the instructions from origami club. You might need to do a couple before you get it right, that's ok.
— put a little glue at the bottom, between the bottom flap and the bottom of the basket — this will give it extra support for holding eggs. Give it time to dry. You can decorate the eggs and basket while it dries.
— attach the handles using a stapler. I used a mini-stapler. If you use a standard stapler, staple sideways to be sure the handle is punched through and won't slip out.
— decorate your basket. We did letters for each child's name on the side of the basket with washi tape.
E G G S
For the eggs we used some kool-aid dye:
1 packet of kool-aid + 2/3 cup tap water. The koolaid is nice because it smells good and costs about 30¢ a packet. It does a great job.
We also made some food colouring dye:
5-10 drop food colouring + 1/2 cup tap water + 1 tablespoon vinegar.
— put stuffing & eggs in basket and you're done. Good job!
I guess I am quite hopelessly behind on the blog this month — I have a little too much on my plate until April, though we do have some posts planned.
This is a quick one: colour scavenger hunts. Choose a colour and then go find everything you can that is your colour. This is good for ages 2–4 and for learning colours. If your child is young enough that they may pick up dangerous or quite disgusting things, then you can just hunt with your digital camera and look through the pictures at home. Now that my son is a little older, we can do hunting with a ziplock bag. This was our St. Patrick's day hunt, which I had hoped to post that day, but really couldn't find the time! I will try to do better...
We visited the planetarium this weekend and this was a fantastic after-activity. It's a great idea, thanks to DTLK Kids for the idea, which you can see here.
If you draw with felt pens on coffee filter paper and then spray or sprinkle water on your drawing, it gets nice and fuzzy. Perfect for making weather paintings, satellite images or even a collage. This would also be a good way to make a Foggy diorama.
The shape of the filters we have make a natural rainbow shape — cut off the sealed side and bottom and unfold. Cut circles for suns & planets (or just flatten them, if that's the kind of filter you have).
It is almost spring and it's a good time to begin looking at plants, seeds and root systems. Two days ago we planted some beans in cotton balls to watch the root systems develop, and they are already sprouting! Later this week I'll add in pictures if they sprout leaves. The tutorial comes from The Imagination Tree, which has lots of great projects. All you need is a jar, some cotton balls and a couple of dried beans. We used a black bean and a black-eyed pea. You don't want the cotton balls to get too wet, so I would suggest measuring out a small amount of water for your child to sprinkle on the cotton balls.
It's lunar New Year, would you like to make some noise to celebrate?
To make a very basic shaker, here is our set of instructions from Sunny below. If you are stuck inside, rice makes a softer sound :) A cup from a coffee shop with a lid is the easiest. You can tape or staple two paper cups or paper bowls together.
This week we got some great news. We've been awarded a grant from BC Film + Media to develop an app for Windy. We're working with some lovely people, but I think we have to wait to reveal more details.
I like to do a dedicated windy post once a week, but I need to cheat a little this week and pull some posts from my own notebook to make the Saturday post. I have a lot to get done. This is a roundup of activities from the last month. They were all to varying degrees of success because, to tell you the truth, my son is on strike against hats this week and bits of my home that used to be not sky blue are sky blue. But on the other hand, we've had much more drawing and painting this week and tried some new activities. And the days are getting longer.
A few months ago Auggie found a video about baking rainbow bread on
youtube. It’s a pretty long cooking demonstration — I never would have guessed
he would find it so interesting, but he asked for it a few times. So we finally
decided to try making it. The recipe in the video requires kneading and uses all the
colours of the rainbow. Since we didn’t have the time or patience to do a long
recipe, we did a much easier version using less colours and no-knead bread... read more
We've hit some stumbling blocks in the drawing department at our home recently. My son will paint or do sculptures, but drawing (or especially writing) are very frustrating for him. He wants them to look "right" and when they don't he doesn't see the point, really.
We received a set of carte da disegno (drawing sheets) by enzo mari. These packs contain long sheets with drawing of empty train cars, freight ships, zoo cages as well as empty sheets. Partly the subject matter of this set, combined with the clear drawing structure really launched a lot of drawing activity — it was great. We started with the freight ship and he drew black coal for each barge. Then for the train, he diligently gave each car some cargo — my favourite was the donut car (not pictured).
When we used up the printed sheets, I made him some more with washi tape. You just need wheels (which, theoretically, your children could draw) and then you make the cars with long pieces of tape. He added some in for the track, too. We had a lot of fun with these and at the end, we also got one completely free-form train (bottom), which was a big step forward.
A couple of years ago I bought a little pattern for a turtle pincushion off of etsy when I was looking for some fabric. My making time has really dwindled recently — I have to focus more on drawing right now. When my son was a baby, the only things I could make easily near him were knitting and hand-sewing. Having a sewing machine, pins and iron out was too much trouble. Now, it's opposite. I don't have the time to knit, and if I have a spare hour in the week to make something I need it to be efficient. I need a machine! Anyway, I tried out this turtle for a birthday present. I used muslin lining instead of interfacing to keep it soft, and I used velvet for the body (which is really hard to keep straight, but feels nice). My auggie, who is now 3 1/2 and whose interests are: trucks, cars, emergency vehicles, lego (and now skateboards) surprised me by asking for one of these. He's asked 4 times. It's partly the velvet, I think. I was going to use one of his dad's old shirts instead of the flower fabric, but he really wants the flowers, so I'll try to do another one if I can soon.
I've made some little desktop calendars for Auggie, too. They're pretty fast to make and fun, I might make more now that I have the templates.
Auggie desktop calendars are up on the Auggie bloggie. If you are a subscriber to this blog or to the auggiebloggie, I'll let you know directly when the February ones are ready. The calendars are a free download and are formatted for standard home computer, iPad 1 & 2, iPhone and iPhone 5 — you can go to the auggibloggie to find them.
The format for these is the same as the Windy set.
(update: there was an error in the calendar I uploaded yesterday evening — this one is fixed, sorry for the mix up). This year there's a Windy calendar for your desktop or phone and January's is ready! We have these formats (choose largest option available at link):
**If, like me, you are not super skilled with your iPhone, you pull the wallpaper onto your phone from the flickr link like this:
1. Click on the iPhone link above. This will take you to flickr.
2. Click on the largest available size for download. This will open up the calendar image in your browser (like safari).
3. Tap the middle of the picture and leave your finger tapped down for a long moment, then release. This should offer you the prompt "save image".
4. After clicking "save image" you will find the photo in your photostream, and you will be able to access it from your settings menu as either your home or lock wallpaper. The calendar is always viewable from the "search" area of your phone.
Little Quick (Judith and me, Robin) began developing another series last year called Sixes & Sevens with Leah Mallen of the great documentary Coast Modern as well as our little Foggy film. We've paused in development to take care of some new Windy business. These aprons were part of the project.
They're easy to make, and you can leave out the pockets if you like — you can call it a mechanic's apron (see bottom photo). Children who would like to work with this pattern can use fabric or felt and glue and omit the sewing. This is one of those projects where stitching by hand is quite a bit quicker than machine.
The Sixes & Sevens dolls are in storage, so I used the sweater pigs as models ^_^.
You can download the pattern here. Print it at a larger or smaller size to match your doll — this will suit a medium-sized doll, about 10 inches in height.