Let's Make Stuff!

  Board Games:

Every now and then D and I make board games.  We tape four pieces of paper together to make a large "board"We mark a start and an ending.  We decide how people will know how many spaces to move.  D likes to make cards with numbers on them that the players pull out when it is their turn to move.  I prefer dice or a spinner.  

We always have themes.  One was a cloud game - that was D's.  I made a TeaParty in the Garden game.  Players had to find their way through the garden.  D made a great game called "Lazy Monster".  I forget how it was played but at certain points you had to slap the center of the board and shout "Lazy Monster".  So much fun.

For Christmas, Little Blue Bunny made D a board game called Frog Hop Game (with my help, of course).  I took a picture because I knew it would get lost in the dozens of gifts that D receives.
The game pieces are origami hopping frogs.  You spin to move.  The point is to be the first person to get to the lily pad in the middle of the board.  Here's the kicker.  You can hop from the hop sites outside the pond.  And if you are very good at aiming, you MIGHT hop right on to the lily pad and WIN!!  So, just like Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land there are TWO ways to get to the lily pad. Spin and move space by space.  OR hop from a hop site.  When you hit an obstacle, you lose a turn and then HOP back onto the board.  If you have great aim, you might hop closer to the lily pad or even win.

Little Blue Bunny is very proud of this game.   He wants me to recreate it so we can play it with D sometime.  She might be willing if one of her surprise! dolls can play, too.  Why not?



Featured Craft Blogger: RED TED ART

Maggy at Red Ted Art, is a prolific blogger, crafter and mommy. Check out her homemade fidget spinners!!!!  The idea that you could actually make these yourself is so much fun.  But, wait! There's more!  So very much more.

See what I mean!!!!  How does she do it?





Check out this heart activity from Kiwi Crate.   I wonder if a library could get a Kiwi Crate subscription and use it with a group of kids?  Hmmm.

Heart Pump



Back Again:  SLIME

My son and his family moved back after a year away.  (I know.  I have neglected this space terribly.)  She's home now and we do Experiments whenever we can. Baking soda and vinegar is so much more fun when some dish soap is added to the vinegar.  Really!  Put a little food dye in there, too, and THEN add the baking soda.  Try it.
This is what we did yesterday - her 5th birthday - 
Laundry Starch Slime.  I linked to Little Bins for Little Hands because that blogger's recipe is so clearly explained.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1.  White glue will give you white slime.  If you want clear (or see-through) glue, buy Elmer's Clear School Glue - or an equivalent
2.  Glitter glue works, too.
3.  Check the label on your liquid starch.  If it says "Concentrated", thin the starch down.  I thinned it to medium strength.  The first attempt, I didn't thin it down at all and we got gummies - inedible clumpy gummies - instead of slime.  It was a learning experience.
4.  The slime will thicken as it sits.  Our successful slime is thick and stretchy.  It doesn't drip through our fingers.  
5.  Thick slime will make very amusing noises when pressed into a jar.  Just saying.

Crochet Mustache!
I used worsted weight black yarn to make this mustache.  Here are the directions for how I put it together.   It seems like a LOT of instructions.  But, even with the thicker version the whole thing is only 3 rows; a foundation chain, and then a series of stitches of varying sizes.  Then for the thicker version, just slip stitch around the whole mustache.  Want a bigger mustache?  Use a bigger hook for looser stitches.  You will need more stiffener then.

Crochet mustache directions:

Worsted weight yarn - no idea how much but not much at all.  1 4 oz. skein will make several - maybe even a dozen - mustaches.

Size F crochet hook

Chain 25.  This is the bottom of the mustache. You will need to know this if you opt to make the thicker version.

1 Slip stitch in the second chain from the hook
Insert hook in next chain, yarn over; pull through chain
Insert hook in the following chain, yarn over, pull through all loops on hook
  I think this is a slip stitch decrease
*1 single crochet in next chain
1 half double crochet in next chain
1 double crochet in next chain
1 half triple crochet in next chain
1 triple crochet in next chain
1 half triple crochet
1 double crochet
1 half double crochet
1 single crochet*
2 slip stitches
Repeat from * to *
If any chain stitches are left, slip stitch in them.
Chain five
Slip stitch in second chain from hook,
Do that slip stitch decrease. (Insert hook in next chain; yarn over; pull up; insert hook in next chain; yarn over; pull through all loops on hook)
Slip stitch in next  chain stitch and in the next two slip stitches.  Tie off.  Weave in all loose ends.

For a thicker, stiffer mustache,  you can continue slip stitching in every stitch to the other end.
Chain 1,
Slip stitch in the foundation chain along the bottom of the mustache.  When you get to the end, Chain one.
Continue slip stitching across the next five stitches on top of the mustache.  Tie off.  Weave in ends.

Either way, stiffening the completed mustaches with white glue and water, or fabric stiffener is a good idea.

 Take Anywhere FREE Building Blocks:

 Years ago, origami guru Mark Kennedy taught me how to make boxes out of those annoying magazine insert cards.  It is an obsession.  If I am left alone with those silly cards, I make boxes.  And then the boxes go into the recycling bin.

One night, I opened a magazine and found a blizzard of these cards.  I made them into boxes.
This is what they look like folded flat.  Notice the envelope on the side - carrying case!
So MANY boxes that I decided to build a tower.  It worked because when the structure was too wobbly, I could nest boxes together for stability.

!!!!!  Since these boxes fold flat, I can put bunches of them into a cardboard mailing envelope and stash them in a tote bag, or suitcase or briefcase or..... Instant building blocks that I can take anywhere.

To watch a video of how to make a box, click below.  Where he "pinches", I actually fold.  His boxes are prettier than mine, but no matter.

 Disclosure: This building box craft has not been kid-tested.  Try it with your youngsters and let me know how they like it.

Super Simple Robot Craft:
The photo is pretty self-explanatory but here are the directions:
Take a cardboard tube - I used TP tubes of which I have MANY.
1. Make two shallow cuts about an inch apart at the bottom of the tube.  I folded the resulting tab to the inside but you can cut it off if you want.  Do this on the other side, too.
2.  If you want to cover your tube with foil, now is the time to do it.  I cut the foil diagonally from the edge to the corner to fit the openings made in Step 1.
3.  Use a knitting needle or skewer to poke holes for the arms and antennae.  I poked from one side right through the other side.
4.  Prep work is done.  Give your child some color coding stickers - available almost everywhere - and some chenille stems and let them go wild.
   Hints:  Poke the chenille stem through one hole and then look inside the tube to poke the chenille through the other hole.  This hint is for the kids.
      Half a chenille will be enough for the arms unless your child wants to go crazy.
    I used Avery color coding stickers.  Stationery stores will have these, office stores, dollar stores, even drug stores and groceries carry these.
   You can also use glue and scraps of paper.  But, the stickers make this crafts very, very simple.

 Michele is selling a tutorial for a 14 piece egg carton Nativity Set.  It is sooo cute, I know I will have to buy the tutorial.  Click here to find out more.  I accept no responsibility for the puns.   I just bought it and it is awesome.

More Michele for everyone.  Look at this.
Honestly, get over to Michele Made Me and check out her Christmas ideas.

 What the heck is this??  Whatever it is, it was made from one rectangle.

MORE MICHELE!!!  Just in time for Halloween.  Check out these masks.

I adore Michele Made Me, a blog dedicated to making stuff.  Look at this!!  Are these not awesomely simple?  Go look.  Now.

Impossible Pie!  Remember that?  I discovered these non-pies when I was a young wife and Mom.  I loved them back then because I hadn't learned pie crust making yet.  My own Mom has been making zucchini impossible pie this summer and that got me thinking.  What about rhubarb impossible pie?  I have a lot of rhubarb this year and I really don't want to roll out a pie crust.  So, I checked the link above and used the apple pie recipe as a guide.  Hmmm, not bad.  My Mom was my first tester and she and I agreed on two things.  It tastes more like a cobbler than a pie since rhubarb is such a wet vegetable and it needs some tweaking in the seasoning department.  Hub said "It's good!"  I love baking for Hub.

What Is It?

 I was just messing around on Sunday morning and this is what I made.  Can you tell what I made it from?  And how?

Bead Bugs:
The title of this craft was suggested by a little girl who attended my Fireflies program at Kernsville Elementary School.  I believe her name was Anora or Honora.  Thanks! 

You will need:

2 to 4 glow in the dark pony beads. (A.C. Moore carries these as does Oriental Trading but I found some on Amazon.com, too.)
string - thin rather than thick
a clear plastic take-out cup with lid - the kind that you get at Panera or other chain restaurants when you order iced tea.  The cup should hold at least 10 ounces.  Bigger is better.
1 scrap of tulle or gauze about 2 1/2 inches long and an inch wide for each bead that you have.  As always, measurements are approximate.
a toothpick or other thin poking utensil
Scotch tape
Step 1:  Tie a piece of string to each pony bead.  The string should be about five or six inches in length.  You will trim the string later.

Step 2:  Poke a scrap of tulle or gauze through each bead.  The fabric should extend on either side of the bead like wings.
I used a toothpick to poke the tulle or gauze through the bead.
Trim the wings to fit your cup.

Step 3: Tape the loose ends of the strings to the underside of the lid.  OR
Step 3: (alternative) Stick the loose ends of the string up through the straw opening of the lid from the underside of the lid.
This is the alternate method of attaching the bug to the cup. 

Step 4:  Adjust the length of the string for each bug so that the bugs are hanging at different heights.
Step 5:  Put the lid on the cup and there you are.  Bugs in a cup.  Now, put the bugs under a light until night falls.   Lightning bugs that you never have to let go!
You can trim the threads when you are done - which I should have done!!!

(c) Karen Maurer 2012

Campfire campfire starter:
The campfire featured on my other blog.

We made this campfire today at the final Stories in the Schools Program for the Parkland Community Library.  I based this craft on a very similar craft on Kaboose.com.  However, the craft we made today is easy for five-year-olds to do with supervision.  And this craft has another use.  Check out the Parents Note at the end of these directions.

You will need:
a small paper plate - paper NOT styrofoam or plastic
a 1 inch slice - or ring - of cardboard tube
4 to 6 cardboard egg carton cups - cut apart - cardboard ONLY
3 to 6 tissue paper "flames".  Cut thin triangles 3 to 4 inches long by 1 1/2 inch wide (or so) at the bottom,  from yellow and orange tissue paper
white glue
Optional: a battery operated tea light candle or flashlight
Sticks from a tree in your backyard - about 4 inches long but shorter is ok, too.

1.  Cut a hole in the center of the plate - approx 1 inch in diameter.  All measurements are approximate.
2.  Glue the flames to the cardboard tube ring - all pointed parts sticking up and bottoms of the flames more or less flush with one edge of the ring.
3.  Smear glue on the base of the ring (opposite the tapered ends, of course) and glue the ring around the hole on the plate.
NOTE:  You can use either side of the plate as the base for this campfire but using the plate right side up gives a helpful little ledge to keep everything in place until it all dries.
4.  Glue the egg cups, upside down, around the flames.  These are the stones around your fire.
5. Dip sticks in glue and arrange them on the egg carton stones anyway you wish.

Now set the fire on top of a glowing flashlight OR on top of a battery operated tea light with the flame sticking through the hole - for a fairly realistic fire - especially when the lights are off.
This version of the craft is copyrighted. (c) Karen Maurer 2012

Parents Note:  Make this campfire before you go camping and take it along.  Everything is flammable and your campfire can be used to start a REAL campfire, if you want.   This craft is not only cute, fun to make and awesome but USEFUL, too!

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