Saturday, October 20, 2012

Yarn bowls

I was inspired for this idea by seeing a yarn bowl on Pinterest. It seems the perfect holder for the acorn crafts my daughter and I are making.

What you will need:
1/2 cup of flour
4 cups of water
3 tablespoons of sugar
Yarn in the color of your choice (I used two: a thick wool and a thin blue yarn)
Small ramekins, tea cups, &/or baby food jars to use as molds
Sturdy cutting board
Press n' Seal plastic wrap
A ziplock sandwich bag
Optional: wooden or glass beads

Step One:
Mix up some homemade stiffener (I am not a fan of playing with liquid starch and would rather use this child-friendly recipe.

Boil 2 cups of water, while separately mixing 1/2 cup of flour with 2 cups of lukewarm water in a bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, add your lukewarm flour & water mixture to the boiling water and return to a boil--stirring constantly. Then remove from heat and add three tablespoons of sugar, stir and let cool.

Step Two:
Not having made a yarn bowl before, I decided to experiment. I looked in my cupboard and found ramekins, a tea cup and baby food jars- all small, just what I want for my project. So I wrapped a sturdy cutting board in Press n' Seal (sticky side down) and wrapped each glass mold in Press n' Seal (sticky side touching the glass).

Step Three:
Spoon cooled stiffener into a ziplock sandwich bag.

Step Four:
Cut long lengths of yarn and place in the bag with the stiffener, knead well.

Step Five:
For the the thick wool skein, I found it better to pull through my fingers (hold the outside of the bag and squeeze excessive wetness from the wool as you pull it from the bag) and place directly on my mold.

For the thin yarn, I gently squeezed it all through my fingers and placed it in a pile on the cutting board instead of keeping it in the bag while arranging it on the glass mold.

Start in the middle of the bottom of your bowl and create your design. I tried it several ways to see which turned out the cutest. It's pretty easy to do a tight circular pattern, all from one string of yarn.
For the beaded bowl, I used several shorter lengths of yarn to make adding the beads easier. The first layer of yarn was placed in a tight circular pattern, adding beads periodically, then I added a second layer of yarn that wove up, down and around the beads in an unpredictable pattern; in hopes of giving the bowl more stability.
The loopy bowl was a last minute addition. I grabbed a rectangular baby food container, wrapped it in Press n' Seal and arranged the yarn in layers of loops, in hopes that it may turn out to look like an eclectic flower of sorts.

Step Six:
Let dry 24-48 hours. This will depend on how much stiffener you left on your yarn and whether you can sit it outside on a sunny day.

Overall, I found the thick wool yarn much easier to work with, but it did have fewer design options than the thin yarn. It was fun to experiment with different bowl shapes an designs.

These are gifts for neighbors in our small community when we go trick or treating. I think it will give the kids as much joy giving something that we made, as it will receiving the candy. Ha! Maybe not, but I still really like the idea of sharing our crafting adventures.

Followup: I didn't care for the look of the loopy flower bowl and I think the thick wool yarn looked the most natural. We filled the bowls with our acorn craft (acorn tops from the backyard glued with a pom pom or glass bead).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Advent Scratch-Off Ornaments

This advent idea is fun because it is a scratch-off game for the kids! I am happy to share my free ornament template with 25 advent ideas, but I cannot upload the pdf file through Blogger. Send me a comment if you know how!

Scratch offs are usually metallic silver, but in this Christmas craft, they are metallic red, green & gold!

Metallic acrylic paints
Dish soap
Clear contact paper
Empty egg carton
Cardstock paper
Hole puncher
Paint brushes
Ornament hangers

Step one:
Print the ornament template out on cardstock.

Step two:
Cut contact paper squares and stick each one to cover the wording on the ornaments.

Step three:
Mix 1 part dish soap to 2 parts metallic paint in one of the spaces in the egg carton.

Step four:
Paint within the lines of each ornament. Paint 3-4 coats until completely covered. (Use a hair dryer on a low setting to speed drying time between each coat.)

Step five:
Have fun decorating each ornament with any of your metallic paints that have been mixed with the dish soap!

Step six:
Hole punch the top of each ornament, you could also secure it with a brad.

Step seven:
Attach a ribbon and/or ornament hanger and hang them on a Christmas tree, wreath or garland. Get the coins ready for scratch-off and lots of Christmas fun!