Kevin

 

Not exactly like Kevin from Up, but since I was wearing blue when I took the photo it kinds of remind me of him :D

More crafting with kids last week. A rather large group of kids. What’s simple and straightforward and costs next to nothing?

The animal masks from RiceBabies reminded me of the mask-making workshop from school. The masks we made were less “sculpted” than the RiceBabies masks, but still three-dimensional. Last time I presented the idea to other kids they were pretty impressed, so I decided to go with it. I even found a pack of 200-sheet construction paper at the dollar store for $2. The cashier wouldn’t believe me until she scanned the bar code.

This is the template we used. See? Pretty simple. I suppose one could refine its shape more by having 3 cuts on each side instead of 2. And it doesn’t have to be perfect either, since it’s going to be decorated and shaped. This is just on a piece of 9“x12” construction paper, and it’s large enough for an adult’s head, like mine. I just estimated the position for the eyes; I think placing them slightly above the middle and 3 fingers apart generally works well.

And then it’s building and drawing the features of the mask — the sky’s the limit! We weren’t going to be able to use paint, so I made this test one with construction paper and drew on it with pencil crayons. It worked out fine, though it needed to be decorated first before shaping and stapling the mask together. Definitely better to use card stock.

I think it’s a pretty good project for a rainy day, like today. Happy Saturday, everyone!

favourite things friday

 

Amazingly simple to make and so pretty in pink! I have these ring blanks lying around from the resin cabochon project, now I know what I can make with them :D How-to for these rick-rack rosettes on The Crafting Chicks.

 

Origami bunny cups! A timely Easter craft, but I think it would also make a perfect miniature bunny lantern with those battery-operated tea lights inside! Demo video on Origami Spirit. (via How About Orange)

 

What a clever way to make a bunny handprint! From Frugal Family Fun Blog.

 

My old roommates had one of those small fondue pots that are heated by tea lights, and we’ve had both cheese and chocolate fondue on a number of occasions — but this! This is the best dessert fondue yet! It’s cupcake fondue! Isn’t it just brilliant? Perfect for a tea party. I imagine it would also work well with those cake pops that are all the rage right now. I’m rather intrigued by how one could form a sphere out of cake batter, though I’m more of a cake-slice or at least a cupcake person myself. Eating a single bite of cake just doesn’t make sense to me. Unless one is supposed to enjoy multiple cake pops in one sitting? What is the proper etiquette when cake pops are served? … anyway, I digress. Cupcake fondue recipe on ModCloth Blog.

 

This puppet theater by Sarah Jane brings back fond memories of my childhood. When I was really young — probably in kindergarten, I used to listen to the Peter and the Wolf story on tape all the time. The stage is downloadable for free, and all the characters are available on Etsy. (via Bloesem Kids)

 

How cool are these? They would make such a cool gift! Perfect with the Poladroid application, which makes a regular picture look like a Polaroid picture (and it’s free!). Tutorial for Polaroid magnets on Ambrosia Girl.

 

Build a super fun super Mario magnet board for some real life super Mario actions! All the characters and props are available to download for free! From the generous and awesome people at Laboratory 424.

 

And how about a Super Mario diorama, made with marshmallow peeps? Just one of the many entries in one of the many peeps diorama contests. The ones in the Washington Post contest are just hilarious. Can’t get enough marshmallow peeps? See the list of contests on Ohdeedoh!

 

And finally, an epic ceramic Howl’s Moving Castle! Be sure to watch the video of the incredible raku firing process! By lizzomarek on Instructables.

 

Happy Friday! :D

make a plarn betta!

This really isn’t a “pattern”, per se. The only “pattern” part about it is the crocheting of the body. Even that is pretty free-formed. After the body is made you can form the fins and tails to make it into any fish you like.

I originally made the plarn betta as a tribute to Sushi the betta fish (you can read more about Sushi here, if you like), and to try my hands on plastic bag yarn (aka plarn).

I made the plarn out of the thin plastic bags found in the produce section in the grocery store, mainly because we don’t get free plastic bags from stores in Toronto and the produce bags are the only plastic bags I have on hand. But I think the produce plastic bags work really well for the fish because of its translucent and delicate quality; its softness gives the fins and tails a nice drape. The regular plastic bags would work too, it would just be a tad more stiff.

And of course, one could make it out of yarn of the woolly and fuzzy variety. It might be neat to make the fins and tail out of patterned fabric, you think?

If you need instruction on how to make plarn, here’s a fantastic one on gooseflesh.

I used a 3.5mm crochet hook, plarn, another plastic bag for stuffing, some shiny silver material for eyes, and white glue.

Here comes the “pattern”!

ch 3, 6 sc in third ch from hook, 2 sc in first sc, sc in next sc, [2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc] around and around until piece measures about 2″ in diameter, end with a sl st in next sc. Don’t fasten off.

You’ll get a shallow cup shape.


Fold piece in half, with the stitch on hook on one end of the fold line, like so…

Here comes the last bit of crocheting: ch 1, crochet together the top edges with slip stitch through back loops only, like so…


When half way across, stuff with bits of a plastic bag, then continue crocheting edges together.


Finally, leave a 2″ tail and fasten off.

I made this one with seam side up, but I think I like the shape better when it’s seam side down, like the first orange/white one I made.

For fins, cut a 4″ length of plarn, hook it halfway through a stitch on the body where you’d like to position the fin, then glue the 2 halves together with a dot of white glue in between. Before the glue dries one could shape the fin a bit and trim it.


Repeat for all the fins. One could also add more plarn to the tail to make it look fuller, using the same method.

For the eyes, I looked for shiny silver materials, like this Tootsie Roll wrapper here. I then cut a tiny circle out of it and drew the eye with permanent marker, and attached it to the fish with white glue.

C’est fini!

 

Have a fantastic day, friends!

 

What do you call a fish worshipped by other synthetic fish?

The one true cod!

- Mike

syrup festival!

We caught the last weekend of maple syrup festival on Saturday :D It wasn’t cold enough to drizzle maple syrup on the snow and eat it on a stick (there was no snow), but all in all we had a lovely time.

There was a very busy-looking sheep in the petting zoo…

 

And a beautiful llama, one of my favourite animals on earth.

 

I tried to take a picture of the rabbit, but the crazed chicken butted in front of the camera.

 

Beside the crazed chickens was a thoughtful donkey, scheming syrup monopolization.

 

There were sap-collecting buckets on many of the trees in the area, but the tour guide told us that metal buckets are no longer used for commercial maple syrup production. Plastic pipes are the tool of choice. But it was fun to check each bucket and see how full they were as we strolled by.

 

Sap dripping into bucket. Apparently, tree sap tastes pretty much like water, and has only 3–5% of sugar content. So to make one bucket of maple syrup one would need to boil down 40 buckets of sap.

I must admit, I enjoy maple syrup on pancakes much better than on its own, but I definitely have a better appreciation for maple syrup by the end of the tour.

Have a terrific start to your week! Cheers!

sunday video

When I was a kid my family used to rent a movie to watch together every weekend. It was a tradition that started when we lived in Hong Kong (the LD), and continued when we moved to northern Ontario (the VHS), and then to the city (the DVD). So I thought it would be fun to bring back this tradition here on the blog, to share videos that I find inspiring (usually the heart-warming, or the ridiculously cute). I may not be able to find a video to post every week, but I will surely keep an eye out. If you have videos to suggest for Sunday video or interesting stuff for favourite things Fridays please feel free to send me a note!

This week’s video is supposed to be a commercial for a smart phone, I think. But still, I find it quite moving. (via Swissmiss)

 

 

Thank you for taking a moment to enjoy this with me. Wishing you a day of peace and rest.

favourite things friday

I never knew that one could knit without needles. But yes, finger-knitting — a skill I must learn! Tutorial by V and Co. (I imagine this would be a good project for t‑shirt yarn, and here’s a great tutorial on how to make that.)

 

Another recycled project, this time with a disposable cup! Looks like they’re not so disposable anymore. Well, at least the kind made with #6 plastic, because apparently they shrink in the oven, just like shrink plastic! I can’t wait to try this — this very flat pendant started as the bottom half of the cup! I can only imagine the fun of watching it shrink and go flat in the oven. How-to on Dollar Store Crafts.

 

Also from Dollar Store Crafts — this tea duck just quacks me up. (sorry, couldn’t help it.)

 


Here’s some real cracking actions on Not Martha — Easter surprises hidden in real egg shells. Like Kinder Eggs, but homemade and therefore extra special. I think these make great party favours anytime.

 

Speak of surprises, I just spotted this on Ravelry the other day — a fish-to-sushi-to-fish amigurumi! A free pattern by Irka.

 

More spring knitting on my project list. I like this leaf scarf. Pattern by Spud & Chloe.

 

And this leaf top by Bernat, in grey.

 

But for now, I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and continue on that cardigan I started in February…

Happy Friday! :D

city of light

 

One of the best things about making crafts with children is that I get to try it out first :D

Frugal Family Fun Blog has a brilliant idea for making suncatchers, with contact paper (or clear shelf-lining) and bits of tissue paper, or this self-adhesive document protector I found at the dollar store, for $1/roll.

I built my “city” on one sheet of plastic, sticky side up, and then covered it with another sheet of plastic. And there are so many other things one can make with the same idea, like this lovely fall tree, and snowflakes.

When I was a kid I liked to make suncatchers with wax paper and crayon shaving, like these, and these. I loved to mix different colours and watch them swirl and blend together under the heat of the iron.

Anyway. I thought the contrast between the tissue paper city and the real city makes an interesting picture. And I hope the kids enjoy making this as much as I did. We’ll see…

I’m definitely enjoying getting more sunlight each day as we approach summer. How about you?

plarn betta

A tribute to Sushi the betta fish.

 

 

I had a pet betta fish named Sushi. I guess that’s not the best name for a pet fish. But he was white and orange, so I thought Sushi would be a cute name. We spent several happy months together. I would watch him swim happily up and down the fish bowl and eat heartily the food pellets I drop into the water. It was so delightful to watch his long flowy tail trailed behind him as he swam, and suddenly the hundred-page spread sheet that I had to parse through didn’t seem so dreadful. Then he started eating less and less, and moving less and less. And then one day, he passed away. I’m not sure what went wrong. He was a good fish.

I had been wanting to try making things with plarn for a while (plarn = plastic bag yarn). But grocery stores here in Toronto no longer offer free bags so we always try to bring our own reusable ones. So I don’t have lots of plastic bags on hand; the only bags I have are those flimsy ones that come in rolls in the produce section. But then I thought the translucent quality of the produce bags might translate nicely into wings or fins — and Sushi the betta fish came to mind.

So then I set out to work, first spending one night making plarn while watching TV. It was lots of fun, strings of plastic sprawling everywhere…

If you’re interested, here’s a handy instruction on how to turn plastic bags into knittable or crochetable plarn. And here is my ball of plarn. I forgot to count how many bags I used, but I think there were around 10… and some I could only use half of the bag because they had green writing printed on them.

I stuffed the fish with a bit of an orange plastic bag, because Sushi the betta fish was orange and white. And I added bits of plarn with some white glue for the tail and fins. The plarn didn’t turn out as translucent as I thought after it was crocheted, but I liked that it has a pearly sheen to it. I then cut out a tiny circle from a silver Wonder Bread bag and drew on it with a Sharpie for the eye.

 

So it’s a fish made entirely out of plastic bags! :D

 

I’m having a bit of a busy week this week, but perhaps next week I will do some test crocheting and write up a how-to for the plarn betta. I also have plans to make a background piece for it so it can be part of a wall-hanging / art piece, will keep you posted :D

Thank you for the inspiration, Sushi. You will always be remembered fondly.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

new day

 

Finally some warm weather and sun today. And look! Flower buds! I walk by this shrub every week and I know that these are going to turn into large pink flowers in the coming weeks! Can’t wait!

Had a bit of a difficult weekend. Many things didn’t go right — or they just didn’t go the way I wanted them to. But hey, today is a new day, and a new week! It can only go up from here, I’m sure.

Have a wonderful Monday!