Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fluffy Sheep

After taking a two week hiatus for Elliott's birthday party preparations, I'm baa-ck!

Make these fluffy sheep from recycled materials.

You will need:
  • Toilet paper roll, cut in half
  • Handful of cotton balls, cut into quarters
  • Glue
  • Black felt
  • Googly eyes
  • Black pom-pom (one per sheep)
  • 4 Black pipe cleaners, cut in half
How to:
  1. Cover toilet paper roll with glue.
    Don't come to my house unless you want to work! I make my friends pitch in!
  3. Cover roll with cotton balls.
  4. Cut sheep's head out of black felt. Attach googly eyes. Glue to roll.
  5. Glue black pom-pom to sheep's butt.
  6. Twist pipe cleaners into spirals. (I twisted ours around a pencil.) Attach to roll to form legs. (I punched holes into the roll and poked the legs through.)
You never know how craft time during a play date is going to go, so I tried to find an easy, short craft so the boys could get back to playing. This was pretty lame, but Elliott and Christian seemed to have fun making them. Of course Elliott decided it might be fun to glue cotton balls to his fingers, too...

Elliott's Evaluation:
I liked to glue the balls on. My sheep has a butt!

And because El thought his sheep needed a buddy, I let him do one on his own while I cleaned up...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Acorn Jewel Caps

Turn acorns into a work of art!

You will need:
  • Acorn caps (try to get the larger, flat ones)
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Rice
How to:
My sister lives in a state where there is no abundance of acorns so I once sent her a small bag full of them to use for crafts. When she opened the bag it was crawling with what she thought were maggots. Ewwww, so gross. I have since found out that they weren't maggots, but weevils, nasty looking larvae that eat the nut inside. They live in the nut during the winter and can sense when the weather is warmer and will come out then. (Hence them coming out while being shipped cross country in a nice warm box.) I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about them now. Point being, if you're going to do any crafts with acorns, I suggest you follow step one first!

  1. Clean  acorn caps of any dirt and debris. Place acorns on baking sheet and cook at low setting (I did 200 degrees.) for about 40 minutes. This will kill any weevils that are lurking in your acorns. Do weevils live in the caps as well? I have no idea, but I was certainly not interested in finding out.
  2. Sprinkle a shallow layer of rice on to a plate or pan. (Just enough to give the acorn caps a sturdy place to stand while drying.)
  3. Completely color the inside of acorn cap with marker. Place upright on plate of rice.
  4. Fill to the rim of cap with glue.
  5. Let dry. (Ours took about 3 full days to dry.)
Totally stole this idea from: a blog that makes me want to own my own chickens. So cute! (the acorns and her blog!) Elliott didn't really have the patience to color in each cap; I had to go behind him and make sure they were filled in. But he totally looooved filling the caps up with glue. Loved it. Couldn't get enough of it. Would probably still be filling acorn caps with glue. Would probably carry glue with him on walks so he could fill stray caps, given the choice.

Me? I thought this was crazy cute. Who would've thought glue would dry into a shiny, glossy color like that? Once you fill the caps up, you have no idea what the color underneath is, but after a few hours the colors start to leak into the edges a bit. We had fun trying to guess what the color was going to be. For three days (several times daily) we would go check on the acorns to see if they had hardened enough. Once it does, the color shines through.

As cute as they are though, we haven't done anything with them. The above blog mentioned using them as a matching game, which is a great idea, but we only used a few colors, so that wouldn't work for us. Still, lots of fun to make.

Elliott's Evaluation:
I liked putting the glue in. I balanced the acorns so I didn't get any glue out. I liked waiting for it to dry and trying to see the colors. I'm waiting to play Matching games with it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Napkin Rings

May the 4th is National Star Wars Day! Use your Jedi skills to make some galactic crafts worthy of any planet in the solar system. May the 4th be with you!

Make dinnertime more fun with these super nerdy napkin rings!

You will need:
  • Felt sheets in several different colors
  • Felt glue
  • Small googly eyes
  • Velcro, cut into small 1/2 inch pieces
  • Needle and thread
How to:
  1. Before you start make some simple sketches of the characters you want to make. Keep in mind that the patterns should be very simple and that the pieces will be very small.
  2. Cut long strips of different colors of felt to form the napkin ring. (Ours were about 2 inches wide by 8 inches long.) Set aside.
    The napkin rings with Velcro tabs aligned to each other.
  4. Cut small squares just slightly smaller than the width of the napkin rings. This is what your character will be placed on.
    Pieces of Yoda on his square. I would give this to Elliott and he would have to figure out how to turn it into the character.

    Pieces of Jabba

  6. Cut pieces out for each character that you are making. Remember to keep the pieces small and to check to make sure it will fit on your square. 
  7. Once all the parts for your character are cut, assemble them and secure onto square with felt glue. Use googly eyes for eyes. Glue square onto napkin ring. Let dry.

    6.    Using needle and thread, sew Velcro tabs onto napkin ring, checking to make sure they'll line up with each other. (FYI: I used  felt glue to secure the Velcro and it didn't last. I went back and sewed each piece on. A pain, but much more secure.)
    7.    Wrap napkin ring around your silverware setting and eat up!



Princess Leia


Admiral Ackbar

Talk about using your imagination! It was so much fun to talk about which Star Wars characters we would make. (R2D2 and C3PO were a given since they are Elliott's favorites.) We literally spent days trying to decide and figure out how we would make them. Check out for some inspiration or come up with some ideas of your own. (We did a little of both.)

This was my first time using felt glue and it is my new best friend. It dried much quicker than regular fabric glue and worked great! I highly recommend it if you do this craft (or any craft with felt).

The smaller pieces were a pretty big challenge for Elliott, but surprisingly he didn't seem to mind so much because he was having such a good time trying to assemble the parts to see how the character would go together. (I cut the pieces before we started and placed each character inside it's own bag. I let Elliott choose who we would work on and he had to figure out how to put them together.) He loved it! We use these napkin rings every single meal, alternating which character we use. (Although El hasn't ventured away from R2 or 3PO.) And of course we plan on a special Star Wars dinner on May 4th:
Jabba the Hutt dogs (crescent dogs)
Vader Taters (tater tots)
Jawa Juice
Wookie Cookies
Happy crafting and May the Force be with You!

Jedi Elliott's Evaluation: I liked putting the characters together. It was like a puzzle. I liked putting all the pieces on. I use my napkin rings every day! I liked putting all of them together. We made R2D2, C3PO, General Ackbar (FYI: that's Admiral Ackbar, but no amount of correcting will convince Elliott he isn't a General), Yoda, Princess Leia, and an Ewok. Is there anyone else? And Jabba. OK! He's an Admiral! Admiral Ackbar!!