Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bird Nester

As the snow slowly starts to melt here and you realize that we may actually see grass again you have this wonderful feeling that Spring really is just around the corner.  Its the time of year we remember as new beginnings, the bulbs appear the days get longer and you begin to see the birds scouring your yard for anything that may make a good nest.

I am lucky to live in an area where we have a lot of birds and so I love to help them if I can. I saw a 'nester' sack in the garden center the other day with the kids and we decided this would be a simple thing to make ourselves.

You will need:

Netting sock mine was re-purposed from a box of plums I had bought
Natural fibers - cotton balls, pet fur, feathers
Twigs, straw

Tie the netting at the bottom if you need to. Cut your yarn into pieces 2-4 inches in length. Stuff the fibers into the sock, have the yarn, twigs etc stick out the side holes in places. Tie up the top and string it up to a tree in a safe area of your yard where you see a  lot of birds.

Now you just need to wait and see if any of your helpful building tools end up in a nest. We added our twigs and straw after this picture was taken - at the time it was still too snowy but a couple of 50 degree days and we have boggy brown looking grass appearing again. Come on spring...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Paper Mache Bowl

So this project came about because I am busy trying to think of eco craft projects for my camp this summer. I tested this one out on my 5 year old because if he can do it the group of 9 year old's I'm having will find it easy. I wanted to show them that they can make most of what they will need so I didn't want to be mixing glue and water for the paste, instead we went back to the way I had made glue with my mum, flour and water. 

You will need:

Old paper from the recycling, ours was blue because we'd had letters home from school but any non glossy letter paper or newspaper would work.
Flour 1 cup
Water 3 cups
A bowl (as the mold)

Begin by smearing a thick layer of Vaseline inside the bowl.

Next layer some torn up pieces of paper all over the inside of the bowl.

For the next layer we add glue. To make the glue we combined 1 cup of flour and 3 cups of water in a saucepan and then whisked it until the lumps disappeared. As the glue began to thicken we removed it from the heat and let cool a bit before you use it. As you can see in the pictures I let Buba help me with this but it is hot so if your child does want to stir make sure they are well supervised and aware of what is hot and not to touch.

Now for the messy bit. Paint a layer of the homemade glue over the dry layer in the bowl and cover with more paper. Repeat this 3 or 4 times.

Once it has a thick covering leave it out to dry. When it is dry you should be able to wiggle it easily from the bowl, now you have your own bowl to decorate.

I wanted Buba to trim the edges of his bowl and decorate it but he liked it just the way it is. I think we might use this method to create our Easter baskets this year, save on the plastic imported from China. Far more Eco friendly, plus when we are done it can all go in my compost.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Car take-a-long

So following on from the re-purposed Altoids tins I made in February with the girls, today I created a mini-take along car kit for my boys. Buba had been given some tiny die cast cars for his last birthday which D loves to take everywhere. When I asked D what game he'd like he said a road map and so I got crafting.

You will need:

Altoids tin
Green Felt
Gray Felt
Yellow embroidery thread

I began by lining the tin with the green felt and gluing it down. Next I cut strips of the gray in various lengths and stitched a line down the center using the embroidery thread. I glued a couple of the 'roads' into the tin and left the rest loose so that the road could be built up. I added the tiny cars and now we have our very own take along car track for our cars.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Magnetic Painting

We've been messing around with magnets recently; Buba got a cool set for Christmas and now we are forever learning what is magnetic. I decided this week to incorporate this into a paint project for the boys, the good news, this is a relatively mess free project as all the paint stays in the tray — or it should. 

You will need:

Foil tray or baking sheet
Large magnet
marbles — we used glass and metal just to see the difference

Step 1

Tape a piece of paper into the tray and add a blob of paint to the middle of the paper. 

Step 2

Place a metal/magnetic marble in the center of the tray. Lift the tray up and have your child use the large magnet to move the marble around the picture. This proved harder for us as I was trying to snap a few pics while the boys took turns holding the tray. This just wasn't happening, they both wanted the magnet so we had 2 balls and magnets rolling around and then they discovered they could steal each others marbles.  They really enjoyed seeing how the magnet could move the paint around the tray.

When we added the glass marble they saw how their magnet had no effect, until they tipped the tray but still fun.

The pictures left some really cool patterns too but this is definitely a process art project.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fairy light lantern

It's been busy here this week, on top of the usual craziness that comes with four children I'm gearing up to run my first summer camp. This is super exciting for me but has led to far too much time researching fun things to try in the summer and less time thinking of things I can do now while we enter March with snow on the ground. I am so done with snow, I love the first storm or two but now I'm itching to get going in my garden.

Anyway today Looby and I made a spring lamp out  of a deli container so I thought we'd share it. Our color inspiration came from some beautiful spring Pansy's I have on my table. I love how it turned out, now I'm just trying to work out how I can make it even more environmentally friendly by using a solar light, I have found mason jar lids but nothing smaller. Any tips drop me a comment.

You will need:

Clear plastic container - we used one that had had olives in it
Tissue paper
Small light, I used a small self contained light LED I found here on Amazon but you could glue in a battery operated tea light.
String / ribbon

Step 1

Begin by making a small hole in the bottom of the plastic container, thread the string through and attach the bulb. 

Step 2

Looby took over for the next part and covered the container with squares of tissue paper using modge podge.

Step 3

Once it was dry she added some flower stickers to the outside and cut a doily to use as a fringe on the bottom. Super pleased with herself and it was even better in the dark when we turned out the lights.

These would be so pretty hung around the garden in summer, shame its too cold now!