Mote Marine…

DSC_8196 DSC_8175 DSC_8338 DSC_8248 DSC_8250 DSC_8256 DSC_8368 DSC_8210-Edit DSC_8348 DSC_8386-Edit DSC_8262 DSC_8200 DSC_8312 A few weeks ago, we traveled to Sarasota to visit the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. I’ve been wanting to go for years, but just never made it happen. Which is crazy, because it’s barely a drive away! I had read they were opening a River otter exhibition and that finally motivated me to make the trip. Savannah LOVES River otters! I really never could understand her fascination and affection towards them, until I saw them interacting with another. They were very cute and playful! Also, it was next to impossible to get a picture of them, because they were always on the go.

Besides the Rivs, as Savannah calls them, the manatees Buffet and Hugh, were the biggest hit. When we visited them, they were cruising through their tanks eating lettuce. There was someone outside their tank counting how many leaves they ate. I could not imagine sitting there for hours counting lettuce!

There were also sharks, sea turtles, seahorses, jellyfish, an octopus, lion fish, an eel, stingray touch tanks, and several other aquariums full of interesting sea life. The jellyfish were my favorite. They always appear to be doing a mesmerizing water ballet.

I think what I love most about Mote Marine, is the research that goes on behind the scenes. It’s not just a place to go and see marine life on display. In their research, they are helping to conserve and sustain marine life. Also, at the same time educating the public. We plan to go back soon. I’m sure we could learn something new every visit. If you are in the Sarasota area, make sure to stop by Mote and see all the wonderful things they are doing for marine life!

Highlight Reel…

DSC_7772 DSC_6186 DSC_7516 DSC_4721 DSC_5368 DSC_7640 DSC_4144 DSC_7475 12795209_10154006129374931_3152712752627970474_o DSC_5173 DSC_7067 DSC_7679 DSC_7845 DSC_7873 DSC_7941 DSC_7950 DSC_4935 DSC_7707 DSC_6237-Edit A friend of mine on Facebook, recently made a comment on the photos I post. She said it’s like looking at a highlight reel. I thought that was a perfect description of the daily snippets I share on my Instagram and Facebook accounts. If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve likely seen all these photos. Sorry for the duplicity, but I wanted to also share them here on my blog. I’m horrible at printing photos. I take them, I edit them, I back them up, and I share them, but I never, hardly ever, print them! So, I thought I would put together a monthly highlight reel of sorts. Except, this first one covers January through March, only because, I just thought to do it!

In no particular order:

Easter egg hunt
Tea box veggie garden craft
Drake, our neighborhood Muscovy duck
Snail pin valentine craft
Sister driveway racing
Backyard Annie
Sister dinosaur painting
Cardboard and embroidery necklace craft
Jacks plays with cars
Savannah and bunnyland
Carrot cascarones
Annie, Wyatt, and the Ferris Wheel
Field of chickens
Introduction to the Ghosbuster’s franchise
Easter cake decorating
Out to lunch Annie
Out to lunch Jacks
Yarn bird craft
Wyatt and a cow
Savannah’s photography lesson

Cardboard and Embroidery Necklace…

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There is always a never ending supply of cardboard around our house. Yes, I am a Prime junkie. I will order anything Prime, if it means I can avoid the fun that is, taking 4 kids shopping. My husband likes to call me, the Prime Minister. Whatever, he’s never shopped with 4 kids. When I’m not recycling cardboard, I’m dreaming up ways to use this glorious craft medium. It just so happens this craft combines three of my favorite craft supplies: fabric, thread, and cardboard!

Behind the scenes, I’ve been working on my own necklace project, which sort of inspired this kid made version. I’m not going to lie. Teaching basic embroidery to my 5 and 7 year old, requires a whole new level of patience. The kind that requires you to constantly re-thread the needle, even though you just explained to them how to hold the needle, so the thread doesn’t come off. After about 10 needle re-threads, we finally hit a groove. Whew.

First, gather your supplies:

Cardboard
Fabric
Embroidery thread
Embroidery needle
Batting/Stuffing
Art Pens
Sewing marker
Scissors
Craft glue
Hot glue
String/Twine

Before we started, I had them look through one of our favorite books for inspiration. Once they were settled on what they wanted on their necklace, I had them draw it onto fabric using a sewing marker. Next, I put their drawing in a small embroidery hoop, one that would be easy for little hands to handle. If you have a surplus of fabric hanging out, it’s a good idea to trim it up as closely to the hoop as possible. This helps to prevent getting the thread tangled up into the extra fabric.

This is not the first time I have exposed them to embroidery, but it is the first time that they primarily did it on their own. I still helped quite a bit, especially with Annie. I gave them a brief lesson on the directions the needle goes. For example, if the needle is under, you are going to go up through the fabric. If it is over, you go down through the fabric. If you’ve ever embroidered with kids, then you know they have a tendency to go the opposite way they need to, thus ending up with the thread wrapped around the side of the hoop. So, this quick reminder, repeated several times over, does help!

I did the knotting for them and did the first couple of stitches as an example. For the remainder of the project, I mainly verbally instructed or pointed to where the needle should go. After a while, I stopped pointing and asked them where they thought they should put their needle next. Once they got acclimated, I didn’t even need to ask them anymore, they had it down pretty well.

After their embroidery work is done, have them lay the embroidered fabric onto another piece of fabric, and cut out an oval shape. Or, any shape you wish really. Next, take the craft glue and put a small bead of glue around the edge of the fabric, leaving an opening for stuffing toward the bottom. Set aside to dry.

While the glue is drying, you can work on the necklace frame. Simply trace the shape of the necklace onto cardboard and add artwork along the frame, then cut out. If the glue is dried to a tacky touch, you can go ahead and stuff it. Don’t overdo it, just a little works fine. Then, add a bead of hot glue to the back of the frame and attach to the front of the necklace. If you are working with young children, please have an adult do the hot glue or use a low temp glue gun. Close up the stuffing opening with a bit of craft glue. Poke a hole near the top of the frame and thread with string. If they would like to make some for gifts, just cut out a piece of cardboard, and add two slits at the top to hold the necklace.

I do think these turned out really sweet. Even though we had a rocky start, it was fun and I very much enjoyed sharing embroidery with them. Savannah already has plans for a pillow. I will need to start building my patience reserve now, for that project!