I’m so happy to have Erica Linden as a guest on Dinker & Giggles. Not only is she a complete rock star but I also had the honor of attending high school with her. From one small town to another she is finding a way to balance life with crafts, nature, and fun. Enjoy!
My daughter Mathea was invited to a birthday party a few weeks ago and we were racking our brains for the perfect gift. “Perfect” can be tricky…I don’t like to spend my money in big box stores, nor do I care to purchase plastic toys or the current fad that is surely laden with toxic chemicals.
But not everyone appreciates a homemade gift; I find myself struggling over giving a gift I believe to be of value and considering what gift the receiver might truly want. What honors who they are? Books are my favorite purchased item to gift but somehow that seemed unexciting for a seven-year old hosting a very small -but just right- celebration.
Use What You Have
After taking an inventory of my materials, Mathea and I got out her copy of Sewing School and quickly landed on page 53, “Your Little Friend.” We decided to think of its likeness more as the “Ugly Dolls” and dubbed it a “Monster Doll.” Not only was my daughter excited to make the gift, she was certain her friend would be excited to receive it. That sealed the deal.
Selecting the Perfect Items
Mathea took out the pattern from the back of the book, and got started. I gave her several felted wool sweaters to choose from; I prefer to use wool garments when possible for several reasons — wool is a natural fiber with moisture repellent and flame retardant properties, upcycling is a responsible choice, and from a crafter’s point of view, felted items do not unravel. Using a material that does not require a perfect seam is ideal when encouraging a young sewer (honestly, I prefer that forgiveness for myself)!
After a pink sweater was selected, I plunked my button containers on the table and Mathea sorted at length to find suitable eyes and a nose. We sewed the face first, using embroidery thread for both the buttons and the stitched mouth. My job at this stage in her hand sewing is threader and knotter; sometimes she tries and is successful, but as we all know, those are the trickiest parts of nearly any stitch for any hand!
Piecing it All Together
Next, Mathea whip-stitched the “Monster Doll” closed, filling her with both polyester stuffing and love. Making the doll was a lot of fun and both of my girls have patterns cut out to make their own, and they have also created a new doll for one more birthday recipient. One change we have made is to use a regular running stitch to sew both sides together; the whip-stitch is unfamiliar enough that it was difficult for Mathea to remain consistent. Her hands wanted to do what came naturally.
Mathea was proud of her work but she was proudest of all that her friend truly loved the gift. When those elements come together, nothing is better than handmade.
Erica Linden is the proud mom to two beautiful girls and co-founder of The Beet Bunch. With her sister-in-law, she blogs about her adventures in sustainable living, traditional skills and crafts, and the messy, fun side of life. You can connect with The Beet Bunch via Twitter by following @TheBeetBunch.
h, springtime. Birds are chirping, buds are emerging, and if you’re where I am, sleet is encrusting the earth with a reminder that winter hasn’t quite given up her hold.
In an effort to ring in spring regardless of the temperature outside, I recently crafted a wreath to adorn my front door. Until my garden blooms with actual flowers, I will happily settle for some handmade fabric and ribbon ones, nestled in verdant-yet-faux moss and topped with a vintage button from the collection I seem to be growing–and promising myself I will actually use.
Set it all in a rustic grapevine wreath and it’s sure to bring a smile and a promise of new life whenever I open the door.
Happy Spring!Read More
his past weekend I had the honor of spending time with some of the most talented and creative fiber artists in the area (and out of the area)! There was this one particular lady that was just the cutest thing and reminded me so much of my own grandmother. I watched her use gigantic knitting needles, then showed me how to tungsten crochet with the largest crochet hook I’ve ever held.
Early 2012 was my first time attending the festival. It really opened my eyes and showed me that just because I liked to crochet I wasn’t old. There were lots of people there my age and even some men! It was there that I meet Stacy Trock, Freshstitches and made my very first amigurumi crochet animal a tiny mosquito that Mr. Parker still plays with to this day.
I sat in a few classes. Two with local fiber artist Robyn Chachula, known on the web as Crochet By Faye. I learned how to understand and read crochet charts in her class on Friday. I can now finally put her Baby Blueprint pattern book to use! I also created my first lace in her class on Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon I was making a duck with Stacy Trock of Freshstitches. She helped me to get rid of the ‘bobble head’ looking amigurumi by properly attaching the head to the body.Read More
At my house, we love to do Valentine crafts this time of year. Yes, I have all boys and we still enjoy making treats to give to our friends! Don’t you?
If you are on the hunt for easy, budget-friendly crafts with step-by-step instructions, I have a great list for you! If you love free printables, this list just got better!
Your kids will love making these with you to give to their teachers, friends at school, neighbors and family members. Do you homeschool? Us too! You can totally use these ideas to host a low key Valentine party or just give as treats to and from siblings.
Ready for the fun?
12 Valentine Crafts For Kids
- Recycled Heart Crayons- this is the most viewed Valentine craft on my site. Take leftover and broken crayons and convert them into Valentine heart crayons! You will adore the free printable that goes with them!
- Blow Me Away Bubble Valentine- this free printable fits perfectly on the party favor size bubbles that are 2 oz. This is a fun treat that is sugar-free! (Moms love that!)
- Valentine Bark- this is the perfect treat for your teacher. There is a free printable to make gift giving super easy!
- Sucker For You Printable- every child loves to get and give suckers! You will love this I am a Sucker for You free printable.
- Valentine Popcorn - oh, this is easy and yummy. This treat is perfect for your Valentine party and takes 10 minutes to make.
- Valentine Soap Printable- this soap tutorial is another fun projects the kids will love helping you with. It comes with a free printable so you can hand them out to friends and there is a treat inside the soap! Score!
- Cupid Poo Free Printable – this free printable is adorable. Put Valentine colored M&Ms in a clear cello bag, staple the printable on and you have a fun treat that boys especially love.
- Valentine Mailboxes- I love these paper mache mailboxes that little ones love to decorate. A great place to leave Valentine notes!
- Marshmallow Valentine Pops- love marshmallows? Make these! Super easy and the kids will have a blast making them and giving them to their friends.
- Decorate with Heart Candy- here is a fun and inexpensive way to decorate for your Valentine party. Think outside the box with these conversation hearts.
- Mod Podge Vase- do you love to give flowers to your teacher for Valentine’s Day? Maybe you want a sweet, homemade flower arrangement for your Valentine table. Re-purpose spaghetti jars to make these personal vases!
- Cupcake Spa Socks- take spa socks and convert them to a teachers gift that looks like a cupcake! Love!!
Which one will you make first? I know you’ll have a blast creating.
Crystal is a homeschool mom of five boys including twins. She loves sharing craft tutorials, easy recipes and helping moms learn how to meal plan. Stop by and check out her mommy resource
site, Crystal & Co for more great resources.
We are joined by Theresa Harris, founder of Thrive Art School and creative force behind the new campaign for Thrive Online Art Classes for Kids.
Thrive Art School is located in the Seattle, WA area but the new Kickstarter Campaign is the grassroots for taking the experience of Thrive Art School classes around the world.
Anywhere you have a internet access your child can have high-quality art classes; not just for homeschoolers but for anyone with a child that has a creative thread in their being!
Links mentioned during our show:
- Thrive Art Classes Kickstarter Campaign
- Thrive Art Classes on Facebook
- Thrive Art Classes Website
- @ThriveArtClass on Twitter
- Reading Horizons
We’d also like to thank our sponsor, Reading Horizons. A wonderful company providing resources for families and teachers to instill the love of the written word in today’s youth.
Make sure to check out Theresa’s Thrive Art Online Classes Kickstarter Campaign to help support her dream in helping our children succeed!Read More
Ha! You like that title A Bib to Drool Over? This week on the hook is a wool bib to help control the insane amounts of drool my four month old is producing.
I’m using 100% Merino Wool and the Sneaky Mouse Bib pattern from Stacey Trock’s book Cuddly Crochet: Adorable Toys, Hats, and More.
Just like with wool cloth diaper covers I’m hoping by using wool for the bib it will help take the moisture away from the baby’s face to keep his skin dry and rash-free. I am using a fun burnt earthy orange instead of the yellow in the pattern example.
I’m looking forward to seeing how it will look with the sneaky little mouse and natural wood button handmade by one of my local homeschool mommy friends.
What’s on your hook, needle or nook this week?