Creative Kid: Sand Art Bottle

This one’s a crowd pleaser. There’s something about funneling layers of rainbow sand into an old glass bottle that brings out the mad scientist in everyone. There’s not much to it:


Colored sand (you can also use natural sand or salt and color it with food dye)

Recycled bottles

1″ to 1 1/2″ corks (recycled wine bottle corks also work)

funnel (we only had a single metal one so we also rolled paper into funnels)

That’s it. You just pour and layer!


See what I mean about mad scientists?

bottle sand art by



Days of Summer

I realized I hadn’t posted in a while mostly because we’ve been busy doing a whole lot of nothing–floating down rivers, lingering over afternoon Monopoly games, looking out at a big delicious bowl of lake. Those of us with steel stomachs tried the centrifugal forces of the Zipper and the Tornado, while others of us (in our middle years, ahem) kept our feet on the ground, walking and hiking. I wish I could bottle and cork a bit of these green days to open during the short dark months of winter. Happy summer to you all (there’s a couple weeks of it left)!

Creative Kid: Make a God’s Eye

After a morning of cannonballs and pencil dives off the dock, followed by an epic Wiffle ball game, we were finally ready for some quiet time at the lake. The cousins, ages 7 through 9, helped me try out this camp favorite, the God’s eye. We had about 6 skeins of yarn and a bunch of sticks from the pine forest. We followed the directions from and Aunt Annie (the illustrations at Aunt Annie were helpful). Our process was only a little different from the directions: we didn’t use glue, so to bind the sticks together, we wound and wound the yarn around them (making for messier centers) and to secure at the end, we just tied off the yarn.

Tips for kids:

  1. The kids said it was easier when I got the whole thing going first so the sticks were bound well before they took over.
  2. For those with less dexterous fingers, I helped by holding and rotating the sticks, so smaller hands could focus on weaving.

God's Eye by

Tried It: Embroidered Tennis Racket

Inspired by this woven heart badminton racket by Bloesem kids, I had to try my hand at the (very) rare art of tennis racket embroidery. What was I going to do with that old warped, wooden tennis racket anyway? I had found this one at a garage sale years ago and bought it for no reason except that I loved that it was a “Lady” Slazenger.

I can’t really imagine anyone else trying this project, but here is a tip in case you are so moved: center your design! I thought I had, but somehow it’s one row from being centered. I may add a skinny row for balance, or I may make peace with imperfection. Two other tips: I used masking tape to anchor one end of the floss to keep it taut and flat while I was “stitching,” and I ran my embroidery needle under the stitches to knot in the back (see center picture first row). That’s it. Point, game, match.

Look What Lila Made: Tree Teepee

My 7-year-old niece Lila is an idea generator. Fabulous ideas pop into her brain at unprecedented rate.

This teepee was inspired by a pile of leftover hemlock trimmings. Lila wanted to make something Christmas-y out of them, maybe an evergreen home for one of her favorite stuffed animals. Luckily for Lila, she has a ready crew (in the form of her mom), willing and able to make her ideas a reality.

With some yarn and thick branches, Lila and her mom made a teepee frame first, twisting the yarn around where the branches meet at the top. Then they covered the frame with the hemlock, tying bits from the top of the teepee. The woodland house is in a cozy, mossy spot, with ample room for forest creatures, stuffed animals, and one 7-year-old.