Spiderwebs and Spider Craft

My girl and I love Halloween! As we brought out this year's decorations, she really really wanted to decorate her room. In our family, that means creating new goodies!

She wanted to create cute spiderwebs and spiders. They're fun, easy, and quick. My niece visited and she had just finished reading Charlotte's Web so this craft especially inspired her. That gave my girl the chance to be Teacher, which is always fun.

Along the way, we learned more techniques for different looks. We hope you enjoy!

Supplies:

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Wire Clippers (or scissors if you don't mind possible nicks in the metal when cutting wire)
  • Yarn
  • Fuzzy Yarn (we used Festive Fur)

The Making:

Clip three pipe cleaners in half so you have six in all. If you don't clip the pipe cleaners, they get weak towards the outer edges of the circle. I've also seen this project made with dowels which lets you make larger spiderwebs. The fuzzy pipe cleaners are easier for the yarn to stick in a spread out design.

Lay them them down and tie a piece of yarn around the middle. Spread them out and start winding the yarn around the center to hold them together.

The yarn can be white or black or purple (or any color). You can tie the pipe cleaners together while they are straight and then fan them out. My daughter insisted on tying them while they were all spread apart, which is trickier but still doable.

Start wrapping the yarn around the pipe cleaners, going around one, then the next one and the next one. Give yourself a little space between each layer as you go around and around the spiderweb. It may take a few passes to get the hang of it, but even spiders must practice making their webs (don't they?).

Continue to the outer edge of your spiderweb. Clip the yarn and tie around a pipe cleaner. Leave a little extra that you can use to hang the web.

For the spider, clip three pipe cleaners again to make six. The fuzzy yarn is a little tricky for little hands, so I helped with making the first spiders. We tried two ways that both worked. 

First, we wrapped the fuzzy yarn around three fingers a few times. We clipped a length of plain purple yarn and tied around the middle. After our little fuzzy ball was secure, we tied it again around the middle of the three pipe cleaners to give our spider six legs. 

Spread out the legs and bend to give your spider personality.

This version of the spider was a little flopsy (which was totally fine) except it inspired us to try again.

This time, we wrapped the fuzzy yarn into a ball. To learn how make a yarn ball, you can visit here. Basically, wrap the yarn around a few fingers, take off your fingers, wrap a few times in another direction, and again, and again. Once you get the hang of it, yarn balls are simple and fun.

Once the ball was about the size of a grape, we laid the three pipe cleaner legs across and wound around them too. Now we had six legs. We could fan them out and wrap the yarn between the legs. This technique made the spider more durable.

Isn't she cute?

Once our spider was nice size, we tied the yarn around the middle to secure it. The nice thing about fuzzy yarn is that it hides all the knots and loose ends. We tied a strand of plain yarn around it to give a thread/web for hanging.

Hurrah! The excitement kids show when they love their creating gets me every time!

Meanwhile, the girls realized they could spin a piece of orange pipe cleaner in a spiral to make pumpkins! So many pumpkins! A tiny pice of green tucked into the spiral became perfect stems.

spiderwebfairycraftsOctober092015-43.jpg

What lucky spiders getting decorations of their own! 

Then, my favorite part of creating! The kids took off with their own ideas. My niece spiraled a white piece of pipe cleaner into a hat. 

And my girl realized white pipe cleaners and white yarn can make an awesome ghost. Little pieces of orange pipe cleaner tucked into the yarn made perfect eyes. 

Sometimes, all we need to do is give children the opportunity (and supplies). I am constantly amazed!

What a darling little ghost!

*I might need to write a tutorial for her ghost because I'm so curious how she made it :) 

I hope these inspire your own decorations. A few pipe cleaners and yarn sure gave us a fun afternoon. And now our house is pleasantly spooky!

Zombie Bride and Groom

My daughter created this charming couple. We love zombies! In the Fairy Forest, the zombies are the wild children. They embrace mess. Tangles. Layers of rough-cut felt. 

These two are cake toppers for a contest she entered featuring Ugly Cakes (yep, it's a real thing) at the Nevada County Fair. She was inspired to make a zombie wedding cake. She could make layers, and drizzle raspberry sauce, and add black icing (yuck)! We knew that a bride and groom cake topper would bring the entire cake together.

We used the zombie patterns from Forest Fairy Crafts. The layer of creepy cloth is easy to find in the Halloween season. I bought a mantle decoration years ago and use it for all of our zombies. 

Our biggest challenge was their fancy hats. For the bride, we cut a strip of felt to hold her veil. We sewed the tulle onto felt with a few stitches and ended up securing the back with a stitch as well. Otherwise the tulle stood straight up! 

For the groom, we used the same pattern as the witch and pirate hat. Except we created a tube instead of a triangle. I sewed a black rectangle to the top, then clipped around the edges to make it circular. I ended up doing these tricky parts because my daughter was distracted with lots of gooey decorating on the cake. 

zombiesForestFairyCraftsAugust092015-37.jpg

We wrapped a little creepy cloth around the hat as well. The nice thing is that we didn't have to worry about messy stitching or uneven edges. He is a zombie, after all.

For their faces, we used sharpie and smeared the ink before it dried. Again, we love the freedom of imperfections!

I hope these might inspire you to make happy zombie couples of your own! I ended up going to great lengths to keep them after the cake won a Blue Ribbon. Yes, she won first place!

And here's where they belong. On a zombie wedding cake!

zombiecakeAugust102015-34.jpg

Aren't they wonderful? The little dish at the top protected them from all of that icing.

And, don't worry, no one ate this cake :)

Remember, you have time to come to Circle of Hands Toys and Gifts on Saturday, October 17 to meet me and Margaret Bloom of We Bloom Here. Visit our Events for more information.

*this post does contain an affiliate link to our book. Should you choose to purchase, a small amount returns to the forest while your price remains the same. Thank you!

Favorite Fall Fairy Crafts

 A few of our favorite Spooky Fairy Crafts

A few of our favorite Spooky Fairy Crafts

Spooky in the Forest is all about the fun of October. We love the darker paths, the gnarled trees and long shadows of evening. In the forest, our zombies have a sweet tooth. They enjoy tea parties. Our witches are candy-makers. Their cottages are sweetness and celebrations. 

We have collected a few of our favorites through the years in this post. We have the link for a Free Moody Pumpkin Tutorial here! Moody Pumpkins can change their mouth to show happy, sad, angry, or confused. Kids love sewing them all over the world. Thank you for sharing photos of your moody pumpkins with us!

 Moody Pumpkins in the Forest

Moody Pumpkins in the Forest

We also have hints for sewing pumpkins with groups of children here.

A subtle change in an afternoon breeze signals a wonderful new season. Hints of falling leaves and a slight golden shimmer to sunshine whispers "autumn is here". 

We love autumn in the Forest. The fairies adore a summer ball and a winter holiday, but they also love autumn. They love the way trees become a riot of color. How wind rattles leaves along the ground. They love the crisp air. They love pumpkin spice everything (don't we all?) They love to decorate!

A few of our October favorites are here. We have a few new ideas to share over the next couple of weeks too. Fairies love to dress up for the season!

 Fairy Witch by Lenka

Fairy Witch by Lenka

I love to make witches and warlocks. The tutorials for step-by-step instructions are in our book.

I also love zombies. The fun about fairy zombies is that these fairies really, really don't care about being tidy. Smear the ink on their faces. Wind the thread in wackadoodle directions, layer torn fabrics... Zombie fairies love it all.

One hint for zombies is to look in local Halloween displays for 'creepy cloth' or other table decorations that can become clothing. I bought a mantle cover of gray creepy cloth about three years ago. I still have tons of it left!

 Fairy Zombie by Lenka

Fairy Zombie by Lenka

Instructions for the zombie and Pumpkin Fairy are in our book as well.

 Pumpkin Fairy by Asia

Pumpkin Fairy by Asia

This pumpkin fairy is such a sweet Halloween friend and decoration. The stuffed pumpkin is attached to the fairy. Though I imagine you could make the pumpkin-styled sleeping bag that the fairy sleeps inside... ooh, ideas!

Anyway, this playful fairy is so fun for the season.

Of course, if you want an easy way to create a few spooky fairies and crafts of your own, you can visit our Etsy Shop. We have one Pumpkin Fairy Craft Kit. We also have a Spooky Toy Maker Kit that has lots of supplies, including creepy cloth!

 Spooky Toy Maker Kit

Spooky Toy Maker Kit

And if you would like to have a witch of your own made by Lenka, we have one left. She's a bit sassy :)

 Fairy Witch by Lenka

Fairy Witch by Lenka

You can find her here.

Enjoy all the fun of the season!

*this post does contain affiliate links to our book. If you choose to purchase, we receive a small commission while your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting the Forest.

Fairies will be in Sebastopol

What a lovely flyer that Circle of Hands created for our event next month. These little pegs will be so sweet to create with visitors. 

I am so excited to be visiting Circle of Hands Waldorf Shop with Margaret Bloom! We will be making little butterfly peg dolls and signing books.

It's such a treat to visit with Margaret Bloom of We Bloom Here. Her books are Making Peg Dolls and Making Peg Dolls and More. All of her projects are lovely and inspiring. I look forward to what we create together :)

Meanwhile, this change of seasons inspires me to choose new colors, imagine new ideas. Wishing you plenty of inspiration today!

Summer Mermaid

Ah, summer. Your long days that go so quickly! With kids home from school and temps soaring, we spend more time in the water than on land :)

Summer is for mermaids.

We are slightly obsessed with Fin Fun Mermaid Tails over here :) as anyone who follows my Instagram knows well. My daughter and niece adore becoming mermaids.

The next best thing to being a little mermaid is making a little mermaid. I am super-lucky that my niece spends a few days a week with us in the summertime. We play outisde, go to the river, and craft together. We call it Camp Lenkaland :)

My daughter needed Forest Fairies for an entry in the county fair (more on that later). While my daughter sewed her fairies, my niece made a mermaid.

So sweet :). These mermaids aren't for swimming in real water, of course, but she's already joined my niece's collection of Very Special Things. We can create magic :)

Yes, summer is fleeting. Yet the memories last forever :)

Magic Wands with Yarn

magicwands.jpg

So simple and so fun for the class today. I collected fallen branches about a foot in length. I brought sandpaper, yarn, and a few beads to class. Students chose the branch that "spoke" to them. They could use sandpaper to smooth rough patches. A few spent ages making their sticks all smooth.

I showed them how to tie a knot around the branch- the short end dives through the loop, wrapping around the long end. I showed them how to hide the short tail by wrapping around it. We discussed layering colors and adding beads. I said they could fingerknit then wrap the knitted chain. They wanted to engage quickly so no one tried that. Another day :)

Their wands went home with them today, all unique and beautiful! Just like the children :)

Fairies for Good Causes

amotbasketfairies-1.jpg

An invitation. Over the years, we have made fairies for donations. We hear stories about generous people who make fairies and treasure keepers for childrens' hospitals and school auctions. I forgot how much fun I have creating to give. Crafts help children in many ways. Crafts carry love. I made these for my son's class basket. It went to an auction benefiting his school (and arts in schools, including handwork, yay).

amotbasketfairies-2.jpg

Along the way, I found myself enchanted. Giving gives to the giver :)

amotbasketfairies-3.jpg
amotbasketfairies-4.jpg

Don't they look cute on the basket?

amotbasket-1.jpg

Fairies given away have a certain special magic :)

amotbasketfairies-5.jpg

Have you given fairies to a good cause? Where did you give? 

I am sure inspired to keep a supply of sweet little fairies just for donating. They are magical :)

Hope you get to enjoy giving :)

Making Peg Dolls and More in the Forest

We love peg dolls in the forest. We love being inspired.

Margaret Bloom sure knows how to inspire us! Her first book, Making Peg Dolls, showed us how to create lovely little pegs for our collection. Her new book, Making Peg Dolls and More, shares new fantastic ideas! We couldn't wait to dive into the pages.

My daughter is a mermaid :)

So of course she chose the mermaid project. My son is all into ocean creatures these days. The octopus was just perfect! To complete our ocean adventures, we sewed the dolphin too. I haven't made many felt animals so I was a little nervous. The directions worked fantastic!

The painted pegs were so cute just by themselves! Even cuter with the felt pieces :)

We love how each step of the craft is shown with easy-to-follow illustrations and beautiful photographs. As a mom, I enjoy invitations to create your own vision. My son loves, loves, loves orange. So we made an orange octopus for him.

My daughter decided that her mermaid needed a seashell for a hat. Is that okay, Mom? Of course! The beauty of creating is that you get to make your visions. Take inspiration and grow. Learn. Discover.

Find magic.

Be delighted :)

The fun is just beginning for the little ocean pegs. They are already finding adventures.

Joining Margaret's Bloom celebration for her new book delighted us! We know that lots of wonderful things are going to made from this book. Our fun is just beginning :) Our mermaid, octopus, and dolphin need more friends.

As a gift for all of us, A Child's Dream Come True (which carries our favorite felt) has gifts for anyone ordering Making Peg People and More. This week (until February 14, 2015) you receive a special free mini-bundle of wool felt and 2 Large Wood Peg Dolls! You can also enjoy 10% off Holland Wool Felt Yards + Cuts and 10% off Wood Peg Dolls. Simply enter code: DOLLCRAFTS in your shopping cart to apply and see the discount. They also carry Forest Fairy Crafts :)

Follow the Entire Peg Doll Blog Tour!

February 2nd :: The Crafty Crow
February 3rd :: Clean
February 4th :: Castle in the Air
February 7th :: A Child's Dream
February 9th :: Forest Fairy Crafts
February 10th :: Bella Luna Toys
February 11th :: Ben & Birdy
February 12th :: Twig & Toadstool
February 13th :: Wee Wonderfuls

Enjoy!

Acorn Gnomes

About an hour before class with my youngest kindergarten students, I was inspired. They had a feast later in the day. They would be excited, yet needing to keep busy. They needed an activitiy that would be fun, successful, and simple. Enter the Acorn Gnome.

Easily the easiest gnome ever. And, yes, that's two 'easies' in one sentence :). For this gnome, I gave each student a gnome and colored pencils. We talked about gratitude, and guests at the table, and whether gnomes are real (very heated discussion there). Then they decorate their gnome. They chose their acorn cap. I added glue. Let the gnomes dry a bit. Then I dusted them with a thin coat of gold-glitter paint. Just because everyone loves a little sparkle.

One student opted out of the acorn hat. He didn't want to hide his art under an acorn. Another made Darth Vader. We discussed using our imagination for faces (not needing to draw a face). 

The gnomes became guests at their feast. Super sweet.

Oh, I did bring a little sharpie to write initials on the bottom of gnomes. I changed it quickly to teeny-tiny names because intials were a strange idea (these adults with their strange ideas!).

Supplies

  • Peg dolls
  • Acorns (would be fun to collect with children, but I didn't have the time, I always collect them when I find them (again, adults and their strange ideas)
  • Colored pencils
  • Craft Glue 
  • Sharpie for names
  • Optional glittler paint

Create

Write names when handing out gnomes. Children decorate pegs however they like. Call up children to choose an acorn. Glue acorn caps. Allow to dry during recess. Paint light layer of glitter. Let children enjoy and bring home!

Big thanks to Teacher Holly at the Nevada City School of the Arts for making this class possible :)

Wishing everyone a very happy day. Hoping these gnomes find you with family and plenty to be thankful for!

Photo Credit: Sara Serrata of North Fork Photography

"Leaf" Gratitude

A student named this project. I wanted a way to treasure all the amazing things in our world. We were inspired by the many leaves turning colors and falling this time of year. What if we could sew a leaf where students could collect gratitude inside on slips of paper?

The leaf can become a decoration with a surprise. Students decided they might add gratitudes before Thanksgiving to share on the day. Or they might go around on Thanksgiving and ask everyone to add a gratitude on a little piece of paper to keep inside the leaf. Either way, they discovered these are the perfect way to 'Leaf' a gratitude!

Supplies:

  • Two colors of felt
  • Scissors, needle, and thread
  • Decorations (beads and sequins)

I cut paper with this second/third grade class a lot. I hoped we could make the leap into felt (saving me a ton of prep time). So I brought in rectangles of brown felt. We talked about shapes of leaves and "cutting out" triangles or curves to create a leaf. Students often want to "cut around", twisting the felt and cutting things in half accidentally. We had mixed success. A few needed a second piece of felt, or the leaf was super-small, or not what they expected. We worked through the hiccups.

We talked about decorating one side of the felt. I did show them how to stitch so they could to embroider the veins of the leaves if they wanted. They all looked beautiful in their own way. Students chose the color for the back of the leaf.



At home, I cut the chosen felt bigger than the leaf. I made it roughly similar, but did not meticulously cut the felt to match. This way, if it wiggled, they had room to keep sewing.

For the next class, we talked about sewing up and down (running stitch) and traveling around the edge of the brown leaf like a little caterpillar. "Leave a gap," I said, "So your leaf has a secret compartment for gratitudes." They could add beads and sequins as they travelled around. Each leaf became lovely. We tied loose ends and children promptly planned how they would surprise their family with gratutides in the pocket. A few plan to add it to the Thanksgiving table. A few want to add a loop to hang their leaf. Lots of ideas.

Which is my favorite kind of project. A craft that inspires!

You can see the little gap on this leaf- a space without stiching so you can get inside the leaf.

Hurrah! Wishing you and yours a very thankful season :)

Batty in the Forest

We adore bats!

The bats on We Bloom Here inspired us! We had to bring them to Handwork class. But how? Each week I am challenged to bring an adorable and sweet idea to forty students in first or second grade. Margaret Bloom, the lovely author of Making Peg Dolls and Making Peg Dolls and More (new! yay!) helped me adapt her tutorial for lots and lots of bats.

I thought of using sharpies instead of paint. Which meant a layer of sealant so the sharpie wouldn't 'bleed' into the wood.

"Why not use colored pencils?" she said.

Why not?

So we used colored pencils and black paper instead of felt. I played with the shapes until I made a template that I liked. I traced that shape forty times onto black paper. The kids cut their own wings and ears. They decorated their pegs with rainbows or fangs or both. These are magical bats after all :)

Each student had an envelope where I collected the decorated peg, wings, and head to glue at home. I used tacky glue because I added wire feet. Every bat needs to hang out!

Here was a little mistake, though, for me. I had white floral wire and thought, "this won't be so difficult to color black." Ack! I should have gone to the store and bought black wire to save myself a lot of time. If you are making one or two, coloring the wire was fun. For forty bats, not so much.

At home, I layered out the wings, head, and wire. I added glue and the peg. I let them all dry on the envelopes to return the next day.  

Back of the Bat

Thank you so much for the wonderful idea and tutorial, Margaret! Children loved their bats :)

Even a grumpy tree needs a little bat friend hanging about :)


Enjoy :)

*please note: this post contains affiliate links. Should you decide to purchase a book using these links, a small amount returns to the Forest. Your price remains the same. Thank you!

 

Sew a Book

Once upon a time, books were treasures. They were kept in castles. They were guarded. And only a few very chosen people were allowed to read them. They were valued like gold and jewels. Because each and every book was made by hand. People worked hard to create paper. They lettered each word with ink and a feather. And then they had all these pages. How did they hold the pages together?

They sewed them.

Children found this idea fascinating. We looked in books to see the bindings. Most have modern glues. We did find a few with stitching. 

I shared a few ideas for stitching their own books. They loved becoming authors and illustrators after sewing. I invited them to write about anything they wanted. What freedom! It could be fiction or non-fiction. A field guide to flowers in your yard or to dragons. We saw books about kittens. Books about the seasons. Books about unicorns. And books about flowers. I plan to revisit the idea and make more complex designs throughout the year. A wonderful first sewing project for all ages.

Ages

  • All ages (these were with 5-8 year olds). Older children got into the history of bookmaking. They also dove into the writing and illustrating of their own stories. Younger children enjoyed threading beads and sequins.

Supplies

  • Paper
  • Construction Paper (or watercolor, anything for a cover)
  • Needle and Thread
  • Hole Punch
  • Binder clip
  • Sequins and beads

Preparation

  • I cut the paper (any size works). I cut the construction paper so it could fold around the white paper (double the length of the white paper)
  • I folded the construction paper around the white paper and secured with a binder clip
  • I punched four holes along the folded binding edge. All the papers were now held together with the binderclip, keeping the holes aligned. Aha! moment :)
  • I doubled and knotted thread on the needles (tips about our needle and thread choices are in our book)
  • I tied the thead around the first hole- actually went through and then back up through the loop in the thread. Any knotting will do. The books were ready for sewing!

With Children

  • We talked about history and sewing. We talked about taking our time. I showed how the needle can go back through a hole more than once to create a decorative binding.
  • We talked a lot about not taking the binderclip off until after you sew through the holes. Pages will slip!
  • Children threaded beads and sewed beads and sequins along the way.
  • They discussed what they would write and draw. We talked about books with no pictures and books with no words. They really got to thinking about the process of creating a book.

I tied off threads and they drew and wrote. As long as the threads didn't wrap around the open side of the book, it was all good. They loved their books for many reasons. And wanted to make more! Which is always good. Love inspiration :)

Wishing you happy sewing today!

Please note: This post contains an affiliate link. Should you decide to purchase our book, a small percentage returns to the forest. Your price remains the same. Thank you!

Wishing Heart

Let's begin with a wish. A hope. A dream. Let's made crafts to celebrate our wishes. Because the best wishes are from the heart.

This was my first sewing project of the year with second and third grade students (7-9 years old). Most had used needle and thread before. I wanted a project that would let them explore. A project that let everyone be successful. Whether they wanted one decoration. Or a hundred and one :)


Supplies:

  • Felt (two colors for each heart)
  • Needle and thread (chenille needles and crochet thread)
  • Safety pin 
  • Beads and sequins
  • Slip of pretty paper for name and wish
  • Optional: a third, smaller felt heart to decorate

Age: 6+

Prep: Cut hearts. Secure them together with a safety pin. Double and knot thread on the needle. Sew one stitch at the top hiding the knot between the two hearts. The stitch and the safety pin keep the felt together while children sew.

Children: These hearts are a lovely first sewing activity because almost everything is beautiful (expect for tangles). Children add a bead or sequin to one side of the heart. They push the needle through felt anywhere they like. Big stitches work just fine.

Now the needle and thread is on the other side. Add another sequin, bead, or both.

You can also add the little felt heart. Be careful when going through three layers of felt. It may take a little practice.

Add all of the sequins and beads that make your heart happy.

Helper: Just encourage. Sort out any tangles. Take off the safety pin once the two pieces of felt are secure.

Most design choices will be fine. Long strings of beads. Loops around the outside of the heart. Crisscross stitching. It's all okay. This allows children to experiment with sewing. And have fun! They can stitch around the outside if they like, but it's not needed.

Tie a knot. Move the string to the center for hanging if there is enough string left. If not, add a string. Many children strung beads on their hanging thread to catch the light. If beads go on the hanging thread, be sure to tie a knot around the last bead so they don't slip off.

Children: Write your name and a wish on a pretty slip of paper.

Each class hung their hearts in a special area of the room.

One is lovely. A collection is gorgeous. 

Have fun sewing this week!

For more insights about sewing with children and teaching children how to sew, consider our Forest Fairy Crafts book. It shares our favorite needles and threads along with stitches, troubleshooting, and more. The link is an affiliate link. Should you decide to purchase, a small amount returns to the Forest. Enjoy :)


Wishing Stars

We start a journey with expectations. And children are often told "don't do this," or "don't do that," as they start an adventure (like a new school year). Think of all the rules, the rules, the rules :)

So I like to think of the things we do want for our adventure. What do we want to create? How do we want to feel? What should we bring to this journey?

Children often wish for things. Things like ponies or candy. I want to wish for things we cannot touch. Kindness. Friends. Creativity. Beauty. Hope. Love.

And, every once in awhile, a child cracks my heart wide open with a wish. Like this one.

Something about crafting allows us to feel deeply. To share deeply. Creating a space where we can express ideas that are big and mighty. They connect us. As we sew or bead or knit, we create together. We create  community. 

The stars can be very simple or made fancier.

Optional: Children can watercolor or decorate their own paper. We have painted squares on both sides, then we cut into stars. For time's sake, I watercolored and cut these stars.

Supplies:

  • Stiff paper
  • Needle and thread (I used friendly blunt needles and crochet thread)
  • Beads and sequins
  • Hole punch

Prep:

Watercolor paper on both sides and punched a hole. Double the thread and tie a knot. Go through the hole, then back through the loop in the thread. The thread is now attached to the star and ready for decorating.

Ages: 5-7

For children:

Write name on one side of the star and a wish on the other side. If a wish is hard to choose, add a few beads while thinking. Wishes can take time. Decorating the star is also lovely. Thread sequins and beads. Hang in a sunny place to see the sun shine on your wishing star.

Helper: When tying off, be sure to tie around the last bead, or else they can all slide right off the thread. I loop the needle through the last bead a couple of times to secure all the other beads on the thread.

Enjoy! One class hung them on a branch. Another hung them from the ceiling over their gathering space. All those wishes watching over the children. Beautiful! These inspire a lot of discussion and create a lovely space where children celebrate wishes coming true :)

This wish? To read. May all your wishes come true :)

The First Forest Beasts

The Forest Beasts are here!

We had such fun designing these softies. The kids chose all the shapes and colors. I helped with the sewing machine- especially with the faux fur. That material is hard to sew!

I am inspired to think of easy, early tricks for sewing machine skills. The kids loved seeing their ideas become real life cuddle-monsters :)

These may be the first, but they sure won't be the last beasts :)

 

PS- Ian had a friend visiting. These were just as fun for the boys as the girls. A great boy craft! *Not that I believe certain crafts are for "boys" or "girls". I just see how they respond to different ideas. And the boys (and girls!) loved this one!

Tie Dye Adventures

Tie Dye is timeless.

Seriously. I thought tie dye might be a fun glimpse into my college years. I could share an activity from my youth. I learned that what felt "dated" to me was "all new" to them. And they LOVE it. The process was magic.

And they learned a lot along the way :)

So we started with the Jacquard Funky Groovy Tie Dye Kit. The kit came with directions, dye, rubber bands, and one pair of gloves (which became imortant later). We looked online for inspiration. We learned a few different techniques for using the rubber bands. Anika tried a swirl. Mila wanted a stripes. Ian wanted a bullseye. 

They each had a t-shirt and a white tea towel/flour sack which was thin cotton. The Flour Sack Towels were a surprising hit. They are used as doll and stuffie blankets, dancing scarves, and decorations. We found them on a whim and I'm so glad that we gave them a try. Each child got a shirt and a scarf.

Anika (11) could manage the rubber bands on her own. For Mila (6), I encouraged her to loop the rubber band once, then I cinched each one with a few more loops. Ian (5), pointed to where he wanted the rubber bands and I put them on for him. When they were done, we placed plastic bags in the shade (one for each child). I've dyed before, so I know what happens when projects are close to each other (dye easily puddles and moves to the other project). So we gave each project plenty of room. 

The kit came with red, blue, and yellow. And one pair of gloves. I let Anika wear the gloves. She started with the dye. Then I wanted to have fun, too. We planned to jump in the pool afterwards so using a little without gloves would be fine, right?

Wrong. My hands were dyed for days! My fingernails, especially, looked like monster-hands all yellowed and green. Next time, I will get extra gloves :)

Anika and I used the bottles while Mila and Ian told us where to add the colors.  We were careful not to let the dye puddle underneath the project (keeping each area the chosen color).

After awhile, mixing became fun too!

The colors were so vivid! And the directions had a lot of illustrations, which Anika appreciated. I asked her to read a lot of them to me, so information reading practice, hurrah.

Oh, one idea was to place marbles or bouncy balls inside the fabric before adding the rubber band, thus creating the bulls-eye effect. Fun stuff. We searched Pinterest and found lots of inspiration :)

We had extra dye when the kids finished. And a couple of four sacks. So I decided to dip-dye. I asked the kids to predict what would happen. I found old containers that I wasn't worried about ruining. I draped the towels over a child-chair (that I also wasn't worried about ruining). And we tucked a few inches into the dye. Science! What might happen and why?

By now our workspace was nice and messy. So I made sure that nothing sat in a puddle of unwanted color (brown) and we left everything to sit. This was hard for the kids because they wanted to open their creations right away. I can understand that! Practice patience :)

And by now my hands were a mess! Oh, you can see the fun directions in this image. Perfect for older children.

We let the projects sit. And sit.

The dip dye started its science-magic.

We looked up how water can travel "up". We let everything stay overnight. The next morning, the blue had traveled up half of the towel! I didn't get a photo of that, sorry.

The kids were amazed. Then I wore the gloves (I learned my lesson the hard way) to snip the rubber bands carefully and rinse excess dye. The kids were thrilled by what they had created. Awesome!

I held their projects up for them to admire, then tossed everything to wash and dry (as instructed). Finally, the shirts were ready to wear.

Each one turned out different. Exactly like the kids who made them :)

These child-led crafts are delightful and rewarding for them. Look what can be made! 

I remembered why I wore so much tie-dye in college. It's fun!

Ian loved the activity as much as the girls, so this is definitely fun for boys and girls. The best part is that, every time they wear the shirts, they remind us of happy times. And that never goes out of syle :)

This is not a sponsored post, but the links are affiliate, so if you decide to try your own tie-dye adventure, a small percentage returns to the Forest. Your price remains the same. Thank you!

Happy dying!

The Children's Festival

Another year of magic!

The Children's Festival is a community celebration of childhood and adventure. We dress up as unicorns and kitty-fairies and (this year) Superman :)

Magic can be so simple in childhood! The highlights of the festival include facepainting using watercolors (always check paint for whether it's safe and appropiate (not permanent :)).

Clay and painting a giant cardboard castle and hammering scrap wood to make daggers and swords and little houses.


Children create their own magic! They become vivid characters with a few simple ideas. We are surely lucky to have dedicated volunteers who make these dreams possible.

Oh, and the favorite treat! I almost forgot!

A lemon with a stick of peppermint. You suck the lemon up through the peppermint. The candy becomes a sweet straw. The kids love this treat! We had to go back for second lemons. When life gives you lemons, make easy peppermint lemonade :)

Simple things that make magic for children. I may use a few ideas at our next party :)

The Festival, however, takes magic to another level with the many volunteers who go above and beyond to make an unforgettable adventure!

The bride is guarded by a Troll who demands a stick or rock for toll. The children search for the best items to give him. He has red eyes and a spider on his nose!

And a real fire-breathing dragon!

The entire day is an experience! We can't wait for another journey to the enchanted forest next year!

The entire gallery with lots of photos is here:

Go to The Children's Festival on Facebook for updates about next year's event. Inspiring children (and adults) every year :)

Off to Neverland! Or the Enchanted Forest! Or ... ?

:)