Monthly Archives: March 2016

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!

Tea Box Veggie Garden…

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First, gather your supplies:

Muslin fabric
Brown fabric
Paper towels
Acrylic paints
Glue
Scissors
Paintbrushes
Toothpick or wooden skewer
Batting
Tea boxes

To start, you can review the paper towel shapes and fabric shapes chart in the pictures above. I made these to only serve as a guide for my kids. It isn’t set in stone. Please, by all means, encourage creativity. At one point, Jacks ventured off on his own and made a little garlic guy for his garden, without any instruction from me. It might also help to have the actual vegetables there, as visual guides. Especially with younger artists. Anyway, please use the charts I made at your discretion.

After reviewing the charts, start making your paper towel shapes. We made potatoes, leeks, onions, cabbage, beets or radishes, carrots, and Jacks made a garlic. Once you have all your shapes, set them aside and begin cutting the fabric shapes. After cutting all the shapes, you can start assembling the veggies. I’m going to try and be as descriptive as possible, so you can see how we covered the paper towels in our fabric. Let’s break it down by veggie, shall we?

Carrot: Cut 2 – 3 long, thin strips for the base of the carrot. For the carrot top, first, start by cutting a rectangle. Fold the rectangle in half, lengthwise and cut fringe, careful to not cut all the way to the fold. To assemble, add glue to the carrot top, wrap the fringed fabric around, and secure with more glue. Then, begin wrapping your long strips from the bottom of the carrot, all the way to just over the base of the carrot top. Secure with glue.

Potato: Just like the carrot, cut thin long strips. I think I showed three in my chart, but it will all depend on the size of your tater! This guy is pretty easy. You just wrap him up, mummy style, until there is no paper towel showing. Secure the ends with glue.

Leek: Cut a rectangle shape. Down one long side of the rectangle, cut fringe, but not all the way down. This one is a little tricky to assemble. Place your paper towel leek at the edge on one of the short sides and start rolling. When you start rolling, grab the long side (the one without the fringe) and pull up, so the bottom of the leek is covered. As you roll, keep that long side folded in. When you reach the end, take one of the leek fringes and wrap around the neck and secure with glue.

Onion: The onion is pretty much identical to the leek. The only difference is you start with a larger rectangle.

Cabbage: Cut a circle, big enough to cover the head of your cabbage. Then cut two shapes, that loosely resemble a flower. Maybe they look more like an amoeba? Glue those together, then onto the head of cabbage.

Beet/Radish: Cut a pinwheel shape of sorts. While holding fabric, place radish in the center, standing up. Grab the leaves and gather up, to cover radish. Take one of the leaves and wrap around the neck and secure with glue.

I know some of the descriptions might be a little hard to follow. But, really you can do it however you want. I just made these up and it worked. You might discover a better way!

Now comes the fun part…painting! My only instruction for the painting is to try and cover all parts of the fabric. Also, blending colors is always fun! You’ll find that some of your fabric might start to get stringy during the painting phase. Don’t worry, it just looks like roots. If it gets too crazy, just give them a little trim. After painting, you can add eyes using the toothpick or wooden skewer. This was all my son’s idea. My original version did not have eyes. I loved it! So we added eyes and the garden came alive, so to speak.

After all your vegetables are done, you are ready to make the garden bed. Depending on your tea box, you should be able to get 2 garden beds from one box. Start by measuring an inch from the bottom and marking a guide all the way around the tea box. Next, cut off the bottom. Repeat the same steps for the top of the tea box.

Using your tea box as a guide for width, cut 3 strips of batting approximately 7 inches long. Roll each strip and secure the end with glue. Next, cut 3 rectangles from your brown fabric. Don’t cut them too small, we cut ours at 7 in L x 4 in H. Place your batting roll at the center of one of the long edges. Roll, until it’s covered and secure the end with glue. Grab one end of the brown fabric and fold in and glue. Repeat with the remaining brown fabric end. Add glue to the tea box and place brown fabric roll, seam side down, and secure to box. Repeat for remaining 2 fabric rolls.

Whew…I hope you got all that. Remember, if you didn’t, just improvise! After all the paint and glue has dried, it’s time to plant your veggies!! They can be planted over and over again. Annie, invited her T-rex’s and other meat eating dinosaurs to her garden. Turns out, they like their veggies, too!!

Start Creative Doodle Books…

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know we are really into the arts over here. Drawing, painting, crafting, sewing, you name it. We have art everyday. Sometimes, it’s led by me, but mostly my kids do it on their own. I make sure to keep ample art supplies in stock and within their reach. I don’t require permission for them to create. I employ a, “help yourself” when it comes to art supplies, and they do!

These little doodle books will have a regular spot amongst our art supplies. There are three books: Lines, Scribbles, and Swirls. On each page there is a starting doodle. And that is where the fun begins. From there, you take over. It’s all up to you, to tap into your imagination and bring that doodle to life. There is no right or wrong. It’s all about how creative you can get!

Do you ever just see a product and think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” That’s how I feel about these doodle books. I think they are genius! They are small and thin, perfect for on the go! I plan on keeping some in my purse for in car entertainment, waiting rooms, baseball and soccer games, grocery store strips, and restaurants. Also, these would make great Easter basket fillers. Which is great, because Start Creative has graciously offered Jacks & Kate readers a discount code good for 10% off any doodle book, valid through 3/6/16. Just enter JAK10 at checkout!