This year in my library (FYI: my day job is elementary school librarian), the kids are making a storybook house from cardboard boxes and recyclables. Every week we add a room–Jack’s beanstalk-green bedroom, Little Red’s ruby-hued bachelorette pad, etc. Right now we’re working on the Three Bears’ kitchen, where a golden-curled interloper slurps up soup and breaks chairs.
The students do their creative best with glue sticks and dull scissors. But sometimes I help out on the sly. This is such a case.
Armed with toilet paper cardboard rolls, scrapbook paper and my trusty glue gun, I happily spent an evening making three chairs–in varying sizes. I sliced and narrowed the toilet paper roll for Baby Bear’s squat seat, and sliced and joined two rolls for Papa Bear’s wide berth. (Mama Bear’s medium chair didn’t need adjusting. It was just right.)
I wish I had directions to share, but I don’t. In keeping with the spirit of our library project, I just winged it and left things in crude form. I will post photos of the storybook house soon though so you can see the kids’ imaginative handiwork. They amaze me.
I’ve been in the mood to make but not sure exactly what. Maybe I could sew something small and messy? Something upcycled so to avoid spending time and money at the fabric store? I rummaged in my drawer of scraps and found . . . velvet 3.5″ square swatches from a furniture company (for an armchair we never ordered) and corduroys worn thin and frayed.
I enjoyed matching the dark corduroy–it’s a brownish purple–with cheerful pink corduroy and the deep velvety squares. I trimmed and sewed as straight as I could, but the goal was small and messy after all. Now that I have a patched 14″ square, it seems I’ll have to make a pillow. Any ideas about what kind of fabric I should use for backing–velvet, corduroy, dyed linen, cotton?
I heart Shrinky Dinks. If I have any childhood regrets at all, one might be that I didn’t fully appreciate the joy of watching these little bits of plastic curl then flatten into tiny hard shapes in my toaster oven. I’m making up for lost time this Valentine’s Day.
If you want to a shrink a heart to grow a heart this February 14th, here’s what I did:
- On dull side of shrink plastic, I freehanded hearts and colored with color pencil, each heart about 1.5″
- I trimmed and punched a hole near the top of the heart shape.
- Baked the little boogers! Gleefully and vigilantly watched through glass door of toaster oven (325 degrees, about 2-5 minutes). Once the hearts flatten, remove from oven.
- Braided 9 strands of embroidery floss (3 strands in each part) for bracelet.
- Used split rings to attach hearts to bracelets. Super simple.
Happy Heart Day from homemadecity!
This is a quote from Grace Paley, short story writer, poet, activist. Once upon a time, I drank up her story collections The Little Disturbances of Man and Enormous Changes at the Last Minute and remembered these words. I painted them on the mirror that hangs near my front door to remind me that every day is a chance to voice and act on what I believe in and what I hold most dear. Yeah, my faulty memory skewered the quote a bit, which is: “Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world.” Curiously, I omitted the fear (because that’s what I predominantly feel?). Painting words on a mirror gives you some time to think long and hard on them: courage, from the root cor, meaning heart.
(Thank you, Lisa Congdon, for the lettering inspiration.)
This was so much fun to make–a box of 50 presents for my beloved sister-in-law’s milestone birthday. Ambitious, too. We weren’t sure we could actually make it to 50 gifts but we got there by adding my kids’ school pictures (gift #16) and homemade comics (#6 & 7) and little gifts like a pack of gum (#18). It can be done with a bit of ingenuity. And yes, I did fudge some numbers: a box of 20 birthday candles counted for presents #31-50. We set everything out on the floor and got busy wrapping with rainbow tissue paper and bright tape and numbering with stamps and shipping tags. Happy birthday, T!