Sunday, May 8, 2016

of shares and sharing....

Last fall my pal Jennifer over at Desert Garden Farms created a CSA share just for our classroom. Rather than the large whole and half shares she prepared a quarter share for us, which was just enough to share with 24 kindergarteners. When we first bought the share she sent the class a sheep cutout mounted on foam board, (a la Flat Stanley), along with a personal note from one of the sheep and some very interesting specimens including a cotton boll, silk cocoon and other things of interest for the class.
Much to the excitement of the class, we received the box of fluff several weeks ago. I purchased raw wool fiber so it had to be washed but even in it's raw state the fiber proved to be lustrous. I have my eye on the long brown strands of softness from her Shetland/Icelandic cross by the name of "Blackjack". It's very nice!! At any rate, because it was un-washed I didn't let the children handle the fiber until it was washed just to be safe.

As a purchaser of CSA shares, we were given the unique and wonderful opportunity to name one of her spring 2016 lambs!! OK, so who was more excited about this; me or the children?? What an honor. We brainstormed names, allowing the children to do all of the nominations. Then time for a secret, head down/eyes closed vote. And the winner was "Jake Minnow". Jake, because it's a good boy name, (since our lamb is a ram) and "Minnow", because we ARE the minnows and now we have an honorary sheep minnow. How cool is THAT?? This is something the children may never get to  experience again.
Ever since I purchased the CSA share I have been pondering what to DO with it. What kind of craft can we make out of the wool? How can I give each children his or her fair share of the share? Then it hit me....I will make each child a fiber cupcake to do with as he or she pleases, because in kindergarten we are always excited about cupcakes.

DGF Fiber Cupcakes Recipe

White or brown wool fiber for "vanilla" or "chocolate"- each cupcake used enough fiber to fill palm of hand
DGF dyed roving or batts for "icing"
Cupcake liners
optional cupcake box, (can be purchased from grocery store bakery, cake decoration departments  in craft stores

Wash/Clean and comb to fluff out fibers. Roll fiber gently in palm of hand, felting it slightly. Fill cupcake liner with the "cake" fiber.

Ice the cupcake; pull about 3-4" of fiber from roving or batt. Lay across the top of the "cupcake" in a circular direction and lightly needle felt in place. Use small amount of red to roll in a ball for the "cherry on the top". Embellish with sequins small flowers, etc. Place cupcakes in cupcake container for extra realism. The children are amazed by these non-edible cupcakes. They are colorful, fluffy FUN!
Frosting the cupcake :)

Other things we can do with our DGF fiber...

spinning, of course...

and woolly bugs!!

 Happy Mother's Day, y'all!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Crafty Earth Day critters

....using drinkable applesauce/yogurt tops.

Gather plastic tops, (1 per  critter), chenille wire, googly eyes, wool fiber and hot glue. Not a wool fiber enthusiast ? Substitute fiber with extra large pompom.

Cut chenille wire in 3 equal lengths. Fold in half to make legs, (our critters had 6 legs). Insert wires (legs) through the holes in the tops, with equal length on each side. Repeat for other wires. Set aside.
Cut length of wire for antennae as well.

Teach children to lightly felt the fiber, while talking to them about what "felting" is and how it is done. Begin with wool fiber that has been combed and fluffed out using a pet comb, (if you don't have fiber combs). The idea is to felt it just enough to maintain a round-ish shape.. We used a squirt bottle to wet our hands while felting.

Glue fiber to top. Decorate with eyes and antennae. Adults need to do the gluing but let the children tell you how to position eyes and so forth.

TGIF y'all!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Earth Day and Play-Doh....

....a winning combination.

I have been saving tops from Play-doh containers since the school year began. Ooooo, shiny and colorful! Now what?

Something for our class Earth Day celebration, definitely. It was a toss up between a "bead curtain"- type doorway decoration or a really large geometric mobile. While the mobile would be pretty cool in a mod 60's sort of way the doorway decoration won out since I had so many tops.

Project requirements include; fishing line, Play-doh tops and a push pin. That's it!

1). Poke 2 holes in each top using the push pin, (one at the top edge and another directly below, at the opposite bottom edge).

2). String the tops onto the fishing line in a random color scheme. Tops will stay put on the line by looping the line at each hole. To do this, insert line through the hole in the top. Loop line back around the edge and through the same hole again.  Carry line across the back, (as in following photo), to the opposite hole and repeat the looping action for that hole. String about 11 tops per strand, 3-4" apart, for a total of 5 strands to fit a standard doorway.

3). Hang up. We have metal door frames so rather than trying to tape the curtain I used strong magnet clips and a dowel rod to suspend the strands from the frame.

Add Earth Day signs and other embellishments for a festive look...
Done! Our doorway looks super fun now and the children love that we used something we would have thrown away.
One final each strand in a separate plastic bag until ready to use, thus preventing a LOT of frustration and wasted time trying to untangle the strands. Ask me how I know this???

Happy Earth Day, y'all!

Friday, April 8, 2016

EVERYDAY is "Crochet Day"....

Is that such a thing?? Crochet Day?? You bet your boots it is, at least in Yarn Julep world...
                     A cupcake with sprinkles,

                        teddy bear sweets,

                             owl bonbons,
      and a daily dose of fiber for a well balanced diet.

TGIF y'all!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Doll bed challenge accepted....

Last summer I decided to make some American Girl doll-sized items to be auctioned off at a local fund raiser. After checking the internet for diy AG crafts I decided to make a doll bed. Since I don't possess any power tools, other than an electric drill, it was off to the thrift shop for some sort of bed frame. It needed to be at least 20" long and about 12-14" wide. Hmmmm....

So after cruising several stores I found a bed tray. A quick check with my tape measure, (always take one of these when thrift shopping), confirmed that the tray would be perfect at 21 1/2" long x 13 1/2" wide x 7" tall.

This particular tray had folding legs and a wicker top, which I removed since it was a bit worn. Here you see the frame with the legs folded, the wicker removed from top and a nice coat of white spray paint. Easy!

Next a mattress was needed. The mattress was cut to measure out of  3" thick foam, which can be found at any fabric store. For a more finished appearance, the foam mattress was covered with white fabric, which I happened to have in my remnant collection. To make the cover, I simply wrapped and cut to size, pinning and hand sewing as I went, (like wrapping a present).

What next? Sheets. Again, I "shopped" in my fabric remnant bin. Don't have your own remnants? Take the mattress with you to the fabric store where the helpful staff will gladly help you come up with yardage for this part of the project. Don't forget to purchase enough for fitted sheet, top sheet and pillow.

To make the fitted sheet, drape the fabric over the mattress and cut a rectangle about 1-2" wider than the mattress as measured to include the sides of the mattress. Drape this cut piece over the mattress and pin the corners by pulling the fabric outward by the corner points and pinning
close to the mattress, parallel to the mattress corner, for a tight fit. Repeat for 3 remaining corners . Hem the sheet with top stitching on the machine. (Shortcut: Cover mattress in "sheet" fabric and skip the fitted sheet steps).

Make top sheet in similar fashion, allowing a 5-6" allowance so sheet can be tucked under when bed is made up. Machine hem the flat sheet on all sides.
                                                        Fitted sheet in place on bed.


Top sheet and pillow in place. I added lace trim to mine.
From here I simply used the bed to come up with appropriate sizes for the spread, pillow, throw and teddy bear, rather than actually measuring using a measuring tape.
The bolster is comprised of a rectangle the width of the mattress, seamed across the long side, turned, and stuffed firmly, with ends gathered closed using hand-sewing, with a decorative button glued to the end to cover the stitches.

 Next a crocheted throw. Make enough chains for throw to drape across bed, to desired width. Using stitch of choice, work in rows until desired length is obtained. Edge around using sc.
The final touch....a teddy bear. I winged this one but there are so many patterns on the net for small teddies. Make up your own or check Ravelry.
And while you are at it, Ravelry has a wealth of knit and crochet patterns for AG-sized dolls. Everything you need to make your favorite AG fan super HAPPY!!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Like a hoarder, but in a "good" way.... that possible? You bet it is. Repurposing is always a fun activity and never fails to fascinate young children.
Children go through a LOT of squeezeable yogurt/smoothie type snacks. So what can we make with all of this shiny, colorful bounty? So many possibilities. How about a game? How about Tic Tac Toe?
Here's what you need;
5 tops in two different colors, (total of 10 tops) - make certain to wash tops before using
2 pages of 12" x 9" construction paper (in 2 different colors)
scissors, ruler, tape or glue stick
optional laminator
Using 1 of the pieces of paper and ruler, cut 3 rectangles measuring 3" x 9" and set aside.
Using 2nd piece of paper and ruler, mark off 3 cutting lines measuring 9" x 3" as shown in above photo. Cut the marked off slits leaving the paper in tact at the top.
 Weave the 3 rectangles in as shown for a total of nine 3" squares. Tape or glue woven strips in place and laminate for long-lasting durability, as desired.
Trim the excess, unwoven portion at the top so that the board measures roughly 9"x 9". Grab your [washed]"playing pieces" and let the fun begin.