In my library day job, I’ve been weeding old books from the shelves. The books aren’t in circulation any more but they’re still hardcover treasures with great illustrations about Arctic explorers and Presidential boyhoods and stuff like that. With some help from The Repurposed Library and a glue gun, I remade some of them into “bookmobiles.” (Repurposed has instructions for dismantling books to make all sorts of upcycled crafts.)
Kids think the mobiles look like birdhouses. I think they look like something that exploded and spilled over in weird loopy accretions. But I like them anyway.
Here are other great ideas for upcycled books (links below):
Row 1, left to right: Nancy Drew book purse by Rebound Designs; party favor pinwheels & keepsake box from bhg.com
Row 2: paper hearts from Too Much Time On My Hands; decorations from an Anthropologie store display; organizer from SCJohnson
Row 3: Artichoke pendant by Zipper8Lighting; book shelf by Lisa Occhipinti in The Repurposed Library; “lace” runner by bhg.com;
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Posted in kids, paper, recycled materials, stuff to make, tagged bunny craft, easter craft, easter decoration, free printable, matchbox craft, Matchbox house, spring craft on March 27, 2013 |
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This mini-matchbox home belongs to Mr. Bunny. If you (or your kids) enjoy tiny coloring–great for fine motor skills!–here is a free printable of Mr. Bunny’s burrow. Just color and trim to fit your matchbox. Matchboxes don’t come in standard sizes so you may need to do some fancy cutting and pasting. Happy bunnies & eggs & challah bread!
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Posted in holiday, kids, paper, recycled materials, stuff to make, tagged easy valentines, heart stamps, kids' valentines, rubber stamps, valentine crafts, valentine ideas on February 5, 2013 |
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heart button cork stamps
easy stitch heart
pencil heart stamps
making heart prints
tiny heart prints
A Sweetheart candy-induced sugar rush fueled a valentine bonanza at our house this weekend. We tried out stamps that we made from heart-shaped buttons glued on wine/beer corks and tiny heart stamps carved into pencil erasers. Yes, carving a pencil eraser takes some adult fine motor skills–and I learned that a Speedball carving tool works better than an X-acto knife. We also sewed paper valentines with yarn stitches (I punched holes and my seven-year-old Zeke stitched). Zeke preferred simple stitches–the star design (above) was too tricky for him.
But when it came time for all-out valentine production for Zeke’s classmates, we kept things simple. With washi tape and construction paper, we made big, neon plaid hearts. Happy Valentine’s Day!
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Posted in kids, paper, people we've met, recycled materials, sewing, stuff to make, tagged Alabama Chanin, Ben and Birdy blog, Catherine Newman, craft interview, crafting with kids, family crafting, Improv Sewing, Show me a story, Waiting for Birdy on January 24, 2013 |
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(This is our first in what we hope will be a series of interviews with folks who like to make stuff).
Catherine Newman, author of Waiting for Birdy, and the Ben and Birdy blog, is a fantastic cook, jigsaw puzzler, trash-talker, lollygagger, and friend. She’s also always making something. I recently sent her some questions to find out what she’s been up to lately and learned so much about her that I may now send out questionnaires to all my friends. Try it–so illuminating! I personally feel that the homemade pube/dryer lint beads (yes, you read that right) could find a home on Etsy. Thanks, Cath!
What kind of crafter are you? Plotter and planner or just-wing-it type?
A little of both. I am a wing-it-type overall, very scrappy and always wanting to use stuff we already have in the house, and not follow a pattern and not wait too long for the glue to dry. But if there’s something I have in mind, I will try to make sure I have the materials I need.
What type of crafts do you generally gravitate to?
Oh, many, many types. Like you, I love doing tiny things. My friend Emily [Neuburger] published a book called Show Me a Story, and the signature project is something called “Story Stones” where you basically modpodge a miniature paper collage onto a rock, and I could have made those forever. I did a mason jar, a pear, a cup of coffee, and a star. I was technically only there to help my daughter, but I think she left the table long before me. (so glad I’d had the random impulse to fill a bag with stones at the P.town beach!) I also love anything that involves turning clothes into better clothes (cutting t-shirts apart to make skirts, e.g.) or that involves felting wool sweaters and cutting them up and making patchwork blankets.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever tried to make? Your biggest Martha Stewart moment? Your most spectacular craft snafu?
My biggest Martha Stewart moment? Gosh. Those wool blankets are so gorgeous I can’t even be modest about them. So maybe that. But weirdest? I have made prank barf (out of glue and paint and oats). I tried to make beads out of dryer lint, and they were so disgusting, with pubic hair sticking out of them, that we couldn’t stop laughing. Oh, another MS moment: I made the kids velvet/cashmere (repurposed fabrics) cupcake stuffies for xmas, and they came out so cute! I was copying something Birdy had seen at Barnes and Noble, only mine were nicer.
I know you are great at including kids in the kitchen–how about with craft projects? Do you prefer family crafting or a more self-sufficient, Thoreau-style “leave me alone in my cabin by the pond” type of crafting?
I really, truly like both. We have this game Modern Art–it’s a very complex board game with an auction theme–and all the art in it was so terrible. There are, like, 100 pretend paintings and they were all so ugly. So the four of us sat down and made all new tiny paintings for the game, and it was one of the best days of my life. So I love that–love sitting with the kids to make Fimo donuts, or beading together. But I also love to be just me doing something, like sewing.
What were the most mutually satisfying and successful craft projects you’ve done with kids?
Ah, please see above! Modern Art cards. Artist Trading cards, which are just little magazine collages we do on cut-up cereal boxes, then cover in duct tape. Love those.
As far as mama-kid craft projects go, what strategies would you recommend to avoid a messy end of tears and recriminations?
Ah! That’s a good question. I have surprised myself by being able to bite my tongue and not offer the kids all of my excellent advice, even though it would make their trivet or puppet or coin purse SO MUCH NICER.
Who/what is your current craft inspiration?
I love the book Cute Stuff for inspiration when crafting with kids, especially when we’re trying to think of presents to make people. I love Show Me a Story (above). I love Alabama Chanin for sewing, and my friends’ sewing book Improv Sewing [by Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut].
What are you making right now?
I am making Birdy a patchwork wool blanket from all of the aqua and turquoise sweaters I’ve been saving and felting for years. I made Ben a pink one. They like to say that these are their “college blankets,” which makes me want to cry.
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Get out your fine-point Sharpies! I made a new Winter Matchbox House for the holidays for those of you with both time and matches on your hands.
I couldn’t manage to take a decent photo of the downstairs with my new camera. I’m not blaming my new camera per se, but it’s the only new variable here. I’m just saying. If I manage to take some better photos, I’ll post them.
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