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Brrrr... Cold Day Project :: Mitten Line

It is bone chilling cold out there today! Our schedule has been cleared, all activities for the day have been canceled due to extreme wind chill. What to do on a snow day that is too cold to play outside... crafts of course. Here is a fun and useful project that we made a couple weeks ago on another similarly cold day... a mitten line.

Usually when the kids come in from playing outside they all try to pile their wet mittens up on the heating vent in the foyer. When their mittens were much smaller this worked fine... but now they don't all fit and we have a puppy who loves nothing more than to run off with a pair of socks or mittens. So we hung up a clothes line in the foyer that keeps the mittens off the floor, lets the mittens dry, and makes it easy for the kids to find a matching pair while bundling up to head out into the snow.

For this project you will need a clothes line hung where the kids can reach it.
Pairs of clothes pins
Acrylic craft paint
Brushes

First you will need to disassemble two clothes pins.

Paint the clothes pins with acrylic paint. We painted our clothes pins in matching pairs. So 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 green, and so on. Be sure that the paint you use will not wash off when wet. You don't want the color to bleed on your damp mittens.

When all of your clothes pins have dried, carefully put them back together. You now have a fun rainbow set of clothes pins.

Hang your mittens using matching pairs of clothes pins.

Postcard :: Making Applesauce


 

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Copyright © Wee Folk Art 2008 - 2014. All rights reserved.

 

Whimsical Winter Evergreen

Note: I DO NOT share my watercolors because I think they are perfect. Quite the contrary. I am self-teaching and learning, and I hope I can encourage other would be painters to join me in the journey :) Remember... I'm not seeking perfection, I'm seeking JOY.

As my love affair with watercolors continues, not only am I experimenting with paint, I am also playing with other techniques.

I wanted to paint a whimsical winter scene, because, after all, if I'm not whimsical, I'm nothing! I wanted it light and airy, yet give definition and movement to the snow. Lately I've enjoyed Zentangle. If you are unfamiliar with Zentangle it is a method of creating images by drawing structured patterns. The "Zen" part comes from the almost trance-like, meditative quality of repeating a pattern over and over again. I've started incorporating Zentangle elements in some of my drawings, paintings and journaling. Each of the 3 hilly sections of the snow has a different, VERY simple Zentagle pattern, since I wanted to keep the overall composition light.

I have a long and exciting journey ahead of me. Each time I put watercolors to paper I learn something else about using color, blending and the very nature of watercolors. I am also learning to combine techniques, while finding a style that stays true to my artistic tendencies. Basically, I'm having a blast!

Here are a few books I've gotten on Zentangle. There are also many sites online that share Zentangle patterns for free. The wee ones love creating the different patterns and quickly create their own. If you haven't tried Zentangle yet, give it a try. Even if you think you can't draw, I believe everyone can Zentangle. It truly is very relaxing!

 

One Zentangle A Day by Beckah Krahula
 

Zentangle from the Heart by Jeanne Paglio and Michael Hale
 

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Copyright © Wee Folk Art 2008 - 2014. All rights reserved.

Photos from Amazon 1-22-14
 

Square Wooden Stacker

The only thing better than giving a child a wooden toy that can last for generations, is giving them a wooden toy that you made yourself. If you are new to woodworking, and the thought is rather intimidating, this is a wonderful project to start with. Simple sawing, sanding and drilling will produce this beautiful wooden stacker that can be painted, stained or left natural. You know you want to... so why not give this project a try!

Stackers have become an iconic symbol of babyhood, and with good reason; almost every baby owns one. The appeal of a stacker is twofold: they are fun to play with and they are educational. Through exploration of a stacker babies develop dexterity, agility and hand-eye coordination. Through experimentation they can advance any number of skills including sorting, sequencing, and size and color recognition. Not bad for one little toy. Plus, our Wooden Stacker can easily be used with many other toys including blocks.  

SQUARE WOODEN STACKER
 
Materials:
wood - 1" x 8" x 36” solid wood – we used ash
paint or stain - we used non-toxic, child safe soy paints
finish – we used an all-natural beeswax and jojoba oil finish
dowel rod -  7/8” x 6”
wood glue
 
Tools and equipment:
Saw – hand saw, table saw or miter box
Electric Drill – with 7/8” and 1” drill bits – we used Forstner bits but you can also use standard twist bits
Sandpaper – medium, fine, extra fine – we used an electric sander and sanding sponges
safety glasses
face mask
 
IMPORTANT: Before beginning, put on your safety glasses. It is recommended to wear a face mask when sanding to prevent inhaling sawdust.
 
Select high quality wood without knots. It is best to use medium or hardwoods. Soft woods, such as pine, can dent and splinter. In general, the harder the wood, the harder it is to work with. If you are new to woodworking, you can select a soft wood like pine, but be aware it won’t hold up as well as harder woods. We used ash. It is a medium hard wood, reasonably priced and available at most stores that sell lumber.
 
You will be cutting 7 squares of wood in the following sizes: 6”, 5.5”, 5”, 4.5”, 4”, 3.5” and 3”. Mark each piece and cut them with a saw. If you don’t have a table saw or an electric miter box, they can be cut out using a hand saw or a manual miter box.

Mark the center of each square. To do these place a ruler on the face of each square from one diagonal corner to another. Make a light pencil marker near the center. Now do the same for the other two diagonal corners. Where the two lines intersect is the center.


 
Using a hand held electric drill or a drill press, drill a hole all the way through the center of the 5.5", 5", 4.5", 4", 3.5" and 3" squares using the 1” drill bit. DO NOT DRILL A HOLE IN THE 6" SQUARE!

HINT: To stop the wood from splintering on the back when the drill pops through, place a scrap piece of wood behind your square. When you drill through the square, continue drilling until you start drilling through the scrap piece of wood.


 
For the 6” square block, switch to a 7/8” drill bit. (The size of the dowel rod) Drill a hole 5/8” deep in the center. IMPORTANT: Do not go all the way through.


 
Sand the blocks using an electric sander or a sandpaper block sponge. Smooth the sides, top and bottom of your square.  Slightly round the edges and corners.

You will also need to sand the inner hole. You can do these by rolling a piece of sandpaper the size of the hole and sand. We like to use the sponged backed sandpaper for that.

For the dowel rod, sand one end rounding the corners slightly. Lightly sand the rod to remove any rough areas. Lightly sand the other end so the end is flat. This end will be glued into the base.

Dust off your pieces to make sure they are free of all sawdust.

Finishing Your Stacker
 
There are three different ways you can finish your stacker. The first is to leave it natural, and just apply a beeswax finish to the wood. You may choose to stain your stacker. You can do this all one color or you can use multiple colors of stain. Again, finish with a beeswax finish when the stain has thoroughly dried. Finally, you can paint your squares. The Little Lady in our lives loves bright colors, so we opted to use bright, rainbow colors. When painting you can use water colors, acrylics, milk paints or soy paints. Just make sure they are NON-TOXIC and CHILD SAFE.

 

Make sure all the dust has been removed from the wood and paint with desired colors. We used one coat of paint because we wanted to be able to make out the grain lines. Note: Do not paint inside the hole of the 6" base.

When the paint on the squares has thoroughly dried, rub in the beeswax. If you regularly seal your wood with a beeswax finish, your wood for last a long, long time. Note: do not

Leave the dowel rod unpainted. Seal the dowel rod with the beeswax. Try not to get the finish in the hole of the base.

Place glue in the hole making sure to get some on the inside edges.

Place the dowel rod in the hole and allow it to dry.

Done!

Of course your stacker can be used to stack the squares, but the squares can be used as blocks or any other way a wee one deems fit. Enjoy!


 

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Copyright © Wee Folk Art 2008 - 2014. All rights reserved.

PHOTOS: 3-19-12, 3-19-12

 

Knitting Stars

I know I should be packing up all the Christmas stuff and knitting more practical things right now (the kids could all use more mittens) but I wanted to make something new for my sweet, little yarn tree this year and didn’t get a chance to during the holiday season. Actually, I didn't MAKE anything this holiday season. No gifts, no ornaments, no winter woolies. I think I was a little overwhelmed with the shortened season (there weren't enough weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year) and we had family staying with us for an extended vacation at Thanksgiving. That combined with all the kids activities and I found that I just wasn't in a crafty mood. So many evenings I would hit the sofa and couldn't even be tempted by my knitting, let alone anything messier. But now, as some of the dust has settled, and the snow has bound us in the house, I've managed to finish off one of those big knitting projects that had been mocking me for weeks and found myself wanting something much, much smaller on my needles. I'm adoring this project. So fun, so cute, so easily portable in a tiny little basket (the basket alone makes me smile), and they give immediate gratification. No waiting, no stress. This feels just right at the moment. So my little yarn tree is still out and I’m adding these fun stars to it. Next year I may need a bigger yarn tree.

Visit JellyWares to get the Knitted Star tutorial at http://jellywares.blogspot.com/2011/10/knitted-star-tutorial.html.

Here is a list of links, in case you've missed some of the past projects on my Yarn Tree, that we've completed over the last couple years...
the Yarn Ball Ornaments
the German Paper Stars
the I-cord Rainbow Garland
the Colorful Crocheted Christmas Balls
and the Felt Wool and Ribbon Ornaments.

Enjoy a little, quiet post-season crafting... or start your list for next year. There's only 346 days until next Christmas. ;)

 

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