Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall Counting

Yesterday, we went on an exploration of some large public gardens in Vancouver called Van Dusen Gardens. I've been having a new parenting challenge, which  is that I have completely lost my voice. I feel just fine, but cannot speak. I never realized how much I rely on my voice to keep Auggie entertained. Being outside in the sun helped, but when we started to flag, I gave him the task of finding numbers, like, what can we find for "1" and for "2" and so on. It was a sort of numbers scavenger hunt and it was fun.

We took pictures and then the next morning did drawings. I put together a quick PDF and published our project to issue. Issuu is free, and if you can make a PDF (which you can also do in photoshop), you can make a little library of your own. You can read ours here or make your own.

This was Auggie's description of the our day and our project: "Well, it was really beautiful."

Sunday, July 14, 2013


We have a new project on the go. We're very excited about it and we can't wait to share it with you!

In the meantime, we're taking a summer break from blogging, while we get all our ducks in a row. We will begin doing regular weekly posts in the fall again.

In the meantime, please keep in touch with us through facebook or pinterest. You can subscribe to this blog by email, too (just in the upper right-hand corner of this page) and then you'll be updated when we're back.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

sewing for you :)

If you like to sew, what about some new things for you, and not for the kids! I tried out a Yoshiko Tsukiori pattern book last night and it was great and easy. This one is for you.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

magnetic diorama

Last week we received some beautiful hand-me-down toys. One of them was a simple road-themed shape puzzle. Although my son is a little too old for this type of puzzle, I gave it to him because the vehicles were so nice. He really liked arranging the vehicles outside the puzzle on our coffee table, especially making the tow truck tow the others. We tried putting magnets on the backs so he could arrange them on the fridge instead and it worked out really well. He had a lot of fun with it and it only took a few minutes to make. A couple of the pieces were missing from the vintage puzzle, so I felt alright about repurposing the pieces.

If you would like to keep your child out of the way of the fridge for awhile, a cookie tray makes a good diorama back, too.

We used a glue gun because it's so fast. Otherwise regular glue, or wood glue left overnight will work.
Craft stores, dollar stores and stationery stores all carry small magnets.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

free summer hat patterns for children — notes

This month I tried out a couple of free patterns for children's summer hats and these are my pattern notes. Links and details are below. They are both available online. Making a summer hat is surprisingly easy, these each took about 3 hours. For a fast sewer, probably more like 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours.

Materials for both hats

—about 1/3 yard of medium-weight cotton or linen fabric for one side
—about 1/3 yard of a contrasting fabric
—sewing machine, thread, etc.
—1/2 a yard medium weight sew-in interfacing

Reversible Bucket Hat by Oliver + S
Available from Oliver + S
Sizes available: 6–12 month, 12–24 month, 3–5 years and 6–8 years
Time: for me this was 4 hours from beginning to end. I am not a very fast sewer.

I made this hat first in the 3–5 year size using a lightweight cotton canvas by Daiwabo for one side  — you can find it here — and a plain cotton poplin on the reverse. I didn't worry too much about making it truly reversible and let the crown of the interior be a little bumpy.

The sizing is good, running toward the small. I'm not sure if this will still fit my son when he's 5, but it fits his 4 year-old head pretty well.

Good features: the pattern has very comprehensive directions with clear diagrams, good for a confident beginner. It is in inches and is in English.

Baby/Boy's hat from By Miekke
Available from Miekke Patroon:  direct link to pattern PDF  and instructions at her blog
Sizes available: my approximations are "Baby" 6–12 month (45 cm, 17 and 3/4 inches), "Dreumes" 12–24 month (48 cm, 18 and 7/8 inches, "Peuter" 3–5 years (51 cm, 20 inches) and "Kleuter" 6–8 years (20 and 7/8 inches). Each size includes a 1 cm seam allowance. Definitely measure your child's head before selecting one of these.

Time: 2–3 hours

I made this in the "Peuter" size. Which was a good fit for 3–5. My son picked this leaf pattern out from some scraps of lightweight canvas I had, I think it's by Kokka.

So, this pattern is in Dutch. I don't speak Dutch. I copied and pasted her blog post into google translate and it was quite straightforward to follow the directions. I don't want to post her instructions on our blog, however, if you need help, please email me at windyandfriends at gmail dot com.

Good features: This is actually a much simpler pattern than the Oliver + S pattern, however, it is presented in a more informal way.  For boys I do love the straight brim of this design.

Modifications: I used interfacing on the brim, but the pattern doesn't call for it — I just wanted a stiff brim.

When you are sewing the sections together, one of the pieces will be a tiny bit bigger than the other. The Dutch instructions seem to suggest folding in the difference as pleats. I preferred to clip the smaller piece inside the seam allowance until the sizes matched. These are small, straight cuts, not like the v-shaped notches you clip out when sewing a curve. Clip whichever piece is tighter, the cuts will stretch it out so it matches the larger piece. I also found it easiest to spend 10 minutes loosely tacking or basting the crown in place by hand, clipping and then sewing.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

kitchen sink crafts

Last week we took out a book of arts + crafts projects from the library called "Create with Maisy". My son found two projects he wanted to try: "making a food picture" and "paper lanterns". There are now paper lanterns (if you'd like to make some you'll find more here) all over our place now. The project I photographed was the food picture. We live in a fairly small space, so I like any craft project that allows carefree messiness which can be easily vaccuumed. The Maisy book has a different version of this classic project than the one below, which is also very good.

This is such a simple project, you've probably done it many times! I put out some small bowls on the table (a muffin tin would also work well) and some open cannisters of dried foods. Then I gave my son, aged 3, a small 1/8 cup measuring scoop. He could scoop a full measure of any of them into the bowls. This was a really fun part of the project for him. When he was done, I put away the canisters, put a big pad of paper onto the table and gave him some washable children's glue (the kind with the squirty top).

I arranged the little bowls around the paper and made sure everything was in reach. I also gave him a wet cloth to wipe the glue off his hands and left him to it.

Setting up crafts and making them comfortable has become a big priority here: as low stress as possible for both of us. Having a wet cloth next to his work was really helpful. He didn't need to stop to ask for help from me or become frustrated. He knew what to do when his hands became uncomfortably sticky. The other thing I found helpful was only giving him items that could be easily vaccuumed or picked up. If we were in the backyard, turmeric or cinnamon would have been really fun to use, but we used lentils, pasta, bay leaves, rice, pumpkin seeds and other things that are easy to clean up.

Please let us know if you have any good tips for keeping your craft times relaxed and autonomous, we'd love to hear them.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

5-minute pinwheel

I found this very easy pinwheel photo-tutorial from Petit Poulou which we pinned to our Windy board on pinterest. To make on, you will need: square paper, hole punch, brass paper fastener, bbq skewer or chopstick and scissors. It took me 5 minutes to make and when I photographed it outside it spun like...a pinwheel ^_^

The only paper fasteners I had were fancy fabric covered ones for some reason, so it looks like I've added a button or something, but it's just a paper fastener. For square paper, I used origami paper — mine is white on one side, so I glue-sticked two pieces together. It looked like they paper was buckling when I did it, but it looked smooth when folded. I used a chopstick instead of a skewer. 

This is the pinwheel blowing like mad.

This shows the fastener wrapped around the chopstick at the back.

This is Windy's pinwheel from Sunny.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

sailboat cake

Our sweet friend Lyndsay of cococake did a great and very simple tutorial for a sailboat cake & garland, perfect for Foggy's birthday (which is coming up soon on June 1st).

Lyndsay made this tutorial for you are my fave — you can see more about it on her cococake blog as well. (Lyndsay made cupcakes for our Foggy book launch a couple of years ago, too).

Top image is © cocake, used with permission.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

a drawing stuffy

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
· tape
· pencil, felt pen or other marker
· scissors
· pins
· 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.

to make

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.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

South Pointe Academy

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?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

easter origami baskets

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


—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)


— 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.


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!

Friday, March 22, 2013

colour scavenger hunts

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...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

coffee filter sky

Update: we worked on this more this morning to make all different planets! This technique makes great suns, too.


This is an idea that came from DLTK crafts for kids — they made a coffee filter planet earth.

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).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

cotton ball farm

Update :)

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.

You can find more indoor growing experiments here, including growing carrot tops, avocado stones, growing a cutting and growing sprouts.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

snake puppets

Update: we did make these — it's a good template. Here is our snake exploring the wall of a garage...

Mr. printable has some great templates for snake finger puppets, both coloured and not coloured (so you can design your own pattern). We were excited to try this (my son picked this activity), but due to illness, we didn't finish up, so I don't have photos. Hopefully we will later this week. In the meantime, here is a link to the tutorial as well as printable templates. Image from mr. printable.

Also, we did some vegetable printing for Valentines day. I don't have pictures of our finished valentines, we rushed them to school before I had the chance. We let them be pretty wonky and we had fun ·_·

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy New Year

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.

If you'd like to do a fancier noisemaker, you could make this lovely hand drum from pichouline via bloesem kids.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

good news

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.

The other thing that happened this week was that I gave a little talk at my son's school about early literacy and I made a list of some of my favourite authors and illustrators as a reference, as well as a list of some of our favourite vehicle books. Judith gave a talk at the same school a few years ago, it's nice to participate.

Next week we'll have a real activity up, I promise. In the meantime, don't forget about Windy Valentines if you need some little cards for class.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

february calendar

Here are the February calendars formatted for computer desktop, iPhone 5, iPhone 4 and iPad and iPad 2.

If you would like any help downloading the images, or saving them to your device, see the original post for details.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

taking the easy way

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.

rainbow bread

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

the easiest pancake

Maybe I will dedicate this pancake to Tulip the Buffalo. Snowy & Chinook already have their favourite recipes for pancakes, but this is such a fantastic recipe and so puffy and simple (and good with berries) that maybe it's perfect for Tulip via endless banquet ... read more

kindergarten hat from pickles

I made this little hat (another one from pickles) from their kindergarten set. The pattern is great and simple and good for using up scraps of yarn... read more