Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nature Bag

Last summer we took our four kids camping for the first time, previously our backyard had been as far as we had ventured to camp out. We were by no means travelling light as we crammed the six of us, two tents and all the other camping gear into the car. I knew I was going to get the 'really' face from my husband as I handed him a bag full of craft supplies..."Camping means packing light" he muttered.

He was very grateful later that evening however as he sat stoking the fire while the kids quietly sat making these nature bags. Once they had made and decorated them I handed them each a scavenger hunt and off they went.

Since camping last year the kids have used them many times, to gather things on nature walks, collect shells or just hold their treasures while playing in the backyard.

You will need:

Scrap material or felt
Embroidery thread
Wooden dowel / stick

Step 1

Take the felt or scrap material and cut to approx 12 inches by the length of the dowel (ours was 6 inches). Then fold the bottom up to create a pouch with an overhang.

Step 2

If you have older kids they can do the next part themselves but younger children will need help. You begin by knotting the end of the embroidery thread and puling it through the bottom corner, now use a blanket stitch up the side of the bag until you reach the opening. 

To sew a blanket stitch, thread the needle through the fabric and then loop the thread back around the needle as shown below.

Step 3

Repeat step 2 on the opposite side.

Step 4

Make 2 small holes through the fabric at base of flap, about an inch in from each side.

Next cut about 3ft of the twine and thread each end through a hole.

Tie to the dowel (or wooden stick if using).

Fold the flap over and you are ready to go.

When we went camping last year I gave the kids fabric pens to decorate their bags, 

Then they went scavenging...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mason 'Sun' jars

A couple of years ago my husband bought me a 'sunshine in a jar' to put in the garden. It used a small solar panel to charge a bulb that glowed in the jar at night. I thought how easy it would be to reproduce; I wanted to do it with the kids at Blue Barn Camp this summer so I started looking around. You can get Mason Jar lids with the panel in them but they were too much to be buying in for camp. Then I happened to be in Target and noticed they had garden light stakes with small solar panels, they came apart easily and only cost a $1 each perfect.

You will need:

Mason Jar
Garden light stake
Garden Twine
Grey duct tape
Frosted glass spray (Optional)

Step 1

Remove the lid of the mason jar. Keep the rim but you will not need the inner circle. Also take apart the solar panel so you are just left with the solar part attached to the bulb. I kept all my discarded pieces for a future project but please recycle if you have no use for them.

Step 2
Cut 4 pieces of duct tape, tape around the solar panel sticky side down.

Place solar panel into jar and stick tape around rim of jar. Do not fold tape over but instead trim with scissors.

Step 3
Tie string around the mouth of the jar to act as a handle. Screw on the rim of the jars lid over the duct tape.

Step 4
Your jar should be ready to charge in the suns rays now.

For a frosted glow you should turn your jars upside down on a protected surface and spray them with a water resistant frosted paint. This part should be completed by an adult due to the fumes.