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Archive for the 'Crafting With Kids' Category

Born to Lace

Friday, June 3rd, 2011
By Twistie

via the Higgs Family Website

Pictured above is Miss Annie Baker’s Lace School, Risely, in 1914. The school was established in 1906, but it was among the last of a dying breed by that point. The large scale handmade lace industry was already well on its way out, between changing fashions and the common availability of machine made laces.

But lace schools had been a part of the British landscape  for a more than a century at this point. These schools dotted the landscape and were a major source of education for children of the poorer classes. And yes, boys went to lace schools, too.


Crafting With Kids: Beads!

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
By Twistie

If there’s one thing that most kids love when it comes to crafts, it’s bright, shiny stuff. In particular, it’s hard to have too many beads. But beads can get expensive. How to get the most bang for your buck? Shop in bulk, of course!

Amazon has this attractive collection of 150 grams of lampwork glass beads for $9.99. That works out to more than 50 beads, in a variety of colors, sizes (mostly 6 – 14mm), and techniques of production. In short, it’s a fun grab bag that will appeal to nearly any kid old enough to safely enjoy them.

Or, if you’re looking for more variety, there’s always Mr. Kitty’s Big Bead Bonanza. It weighs in at half a pound, filled with beads of every color, material, and shape. You may even find a few findings mixed in!

Get them for your kids, get them for yourself… I won’t tell. Just have fun with whatever arrives in the bag.

Crafting With Kids: String Them Along

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
By Twistie

When you want to get kids into crafts, you can’t go too far wrong by coming up with projects based around strings, yarn, or thread. Of course, sometimes you could use a hand finding the inspiration.

And that’s where Design Original Strings & Things Book comes in. It’s got a plethora of fun projects for thread-based amusement whether you’re entertaining small fry or teens. The projects include things like making dreamcatchers, creating jewelry out of old bottles and thread, embellishing clothes and more. Most of the ideas are based around recycling things from around your house, so they’re even designed to be easy on the budget.

Speaking of tight budgets, this book is easy on them, too. It usually runs a thrifty $8.99,  but if you order it from Create For Less, you can get it for just $5.19! At that rate, you’ll have money left over to get some thread, too.

Supply Your Kids for Crafting

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
By Twistie

Crafts are great for keeping kids entertained for long periods of time. I remember spending literally hours over my paper dolls, paints, and other assorted projects when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

But you do need some supplies and tools for this kind of imaginative play.

What do you put in your crafting kit? Well, there are a lot of options out there largely based on what particular interest the kids in question display. Then again, there are a few basics that will be useful to just about any child who wants to make something.

What do you need? I thought you’d never ask!


Welcome to Crafting With Kids Week!

Monday, May 30th, 2011
By Twistie

So it’s that time of year again. School is out for the summer, and there are children to be entertained. Whether they’re your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or the neighbors’ kids who like to hang with you, they’re going to need a direction for their energy… and chances are you won’t get them terribly excited about cleaning your house for you. More’s the pity.

Ah, but you know about crafts! You can show them fun ways to use their imaginations to create realities Wii and X-Box  can never take them to.

This week I’ll be pointing out great kid-friendly projects, craft supplies, and terrifying stories you can tell them so they appreciate just how lucky they are to live in a world where their craft activities are purely voluntary.

So sit back, settle in, and get ready for some fun projects and interesting trivia.

Recipe For Mother’s Day

Thursday, May 5th, 2011
By Twistie

Guess what? This sunday is Mother’s Day.

I lose track of that sometimes these days, not being a mother and both Mr. Twistie and I being safe from the Pirates of Penzance, but it really is… not even around the corner. The last minute is quickly disappearing.

If you need a quick project for the kids to do… or even one to do yourself, you could do a lot worse than this cute idea for a custom tea towel over at Kaboose.

All it takes is crayons, paper, a plain tea towel, an iron and a bit of imagination.

Pass It Along

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
By Twistie

via Wikimedia

When I first took up lacemaking, I quickly learned a mantra among my fellow lacemakers: teach at least three people to do this to help keep the craft alive.

In a world that often ignores the hand made and sometimes even scoffs heartily at doing things by hand that can be done by machine, this idea struck me as a good one for any crafts practitioner. If people don’t understand what goes into the work, they don’t appreciate it, and it starts dying.

But we who do these amazing things hold the key to keeping our crafts alive. If we seek out those interested in the knowledge, we can share our skills and the craft goes on.

Yes, you can do it. If you know how to do the craft, you can tell someone else how it works and help them get started. Offer to help a friend who seems interested or volunteer to talk to a youth group… heck, put up a flyer at a local coffee house for a class. And then remember the tips I’m about to give you.


Crafting With Kids: Baker’s Clay

Thursday, November 11th, 2010
By Twistie

Ah baker’s clay! How I have loved thee all my days!

via (Not me, but this captures the vibe pretty well)

Okay, maybe not all my days. There were a few days before I could be trusted not to put everything I touched into my mouth and when my fine motor skills were insufficiently co-ordinated to make playing with baker’s clay a good idea.

But certainly before I hit kindergarten I was making fun things out of baker’s clay. Most of them got hooks and were placed with loving care each year on the Christmas tree. A few were given to friends and relatives as gifts for special occasions. Some got dropped and smashed when I tried to take them off the cooling racks before they were cool enough. Hey, I’ve always been a bit impatient, but I did learn to respect the warning of: don’t pick that up; it’s hot.

Anyway. If you’re looking for a craft to get kids involved with making their own art, you could go a long way before you find a better one than baker’s clay. Kids love molding things. playing with dough, squishing it through their fingers. Not only is it fun, it’s easy and made of things pretty much everyone already has in their kitchens. If you don’t already have flour and salt, they don’t cost much to buy, either.

For three cups of  baker’s clay, mix:

2 Cups flour

1/2 Cup salt

3/4 Cup water

If you like, you can also add a few drops of food coloring. Mix the ingredients together, knead for about five minutes. Mold into desired shape(s). Place sculptures on a baking sheet and bake at 300F for 1/2 hour to an hour, depending on size. Finished pieces may be painted and/or  shellacked.

It’s that simple.

But what to make out of that lovely dough? I’ve been looking around the web and have found a few fun projects easy enough for kids, but challenging enough for adults to enjoy, too. How about these adorable Humpty Dumpty ornaments made with baker’s clay and walnut shells by Cali Wild Violet?


Or maybe you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving centerpiece, in which case you could do a lot worse than this rather spectacular cornucopia from Oodlekadoodle Primatives:


Or just let your kids experiment and find their own artistic voices. Trust me, they’ll find something to say.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Craft Time!

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
By Twistie

Okay, I’m guessing some of you have already started on any crafts you plan to give as holiday gifts and party decorations.  Thing is, I didn’t have this blog last month which would have been a better time to start talking about this.

All the same, it’s far from too late if you haven’t gotten started. If you’re looking for a few good, quick projects, take a look at a couple of these and get inspired!

Here’s a great idea if you want to make an advent calendar to help kids count down the days until Santa arrives. It’s even simple enough that a child could help make it.

Everyone can use a nice hat when it’s cold. Knitted ones are particularly welcome when the blustery winds blow… even here in California. Here are some thoughts for knitted hats for kids, women, and men. Not inspired by those particular projects? Don’t worry! There are plenty more where I found them.

More of a crocheter? Not to worry! There’s always time for a scarf or two.

And don’t forget that you can craft gifts from your kitchen as well. No, not just cookies and fruitcakes! Think about making small batches of your favorite jams and jellies. Or infuse some olive oil. It’s very simple:

Take one good-sized bottle of decent olive oil and several smaller bottles. Fill the smaller bottles with oil. Add a sprig or two of your favorite herb (rosemary is particularly pleasant, I find), a couple cloves of garlic, or a goodly strip of fresh lemon or orange peel to the smaller bottles. Stop up the small bottles well and leave in a cool, dark corner of your kitchen for at least a couple weeks. Pass them out to your friends and neighbors who enjoy cooking. They’ll love you forever.

A bit of imagination and a little time can turn into amazing gifts, if you harness your talents correctly.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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