Sock Dog

We’re just back from a long weekend in the Deep North at my brother’s house–skiing, ice skating, and, in my case, suffering from a stomach bug. What is more pleasant than a puking houseguest? you might ask. I’m pretty sure Ben Franklin coined a pithy adage about it.

Not only was my beautiful sister-in-law, Toni, gracious about my digestive turmoil, but she also let me photograph her latest sewing projects.  

She made this polka dot pooch from a couple of old socks. Such a cute pup! The pattern comes from Martha Stewart Crafts (step-by-step instructions here). You can also find it in Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts.

Toni also made this pretty drawstring  bag from a pattern in Heather Ross’s Weekend Sewing.

    

And this canvas bag (perfect size for an IPad or say, those paper things formerly known as books) from Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter.

Thank you ever so much, T. I promise not to return for a while. Love, m.

Embroidered Hearts

Before we kick into full valentine production at my house, cutting and decorating paper hearts for my kid’s multidinous classmates (maybe this is the best argument for keeping class sizes small), I thought I’d sneak in a little stitching.

It all started with this freebie download for bear and bunny dolls  from wee wonderfuls. I stitched bunny, but not bear because . . .

 . . . I was taken by the urge to create these lumpy little stuffed embroidered hearts! 

I had hoped they’d be reminiscent of these embroidered birds,  but alas, not quite. I learned that it’s really hard to turn small shapes right side out after sewing. Also that I haven’t mastered sewing perfect curves on my machine. And the elusive invisible stitch? I keep trying . . .  

But I did my messy best and enjoyed the embroidery. I used muslin for the front and for the back, scraps of printed cotton and denim and (pink!) cordoroy from recycled pants. The heart paper is from Paper Source in Cambridge. Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

Paper Rollercosters

This paper craft for kids comes straight from one of my favorite museums: the Peabody Essex in Salem, Mass. Yes, it has an amazing Asian art and Maritime art collection (including a room-size model of the S.S. Queen Elizabeth, which never fails to impress us). But sometimes we go just to hang out in the sunny atrium designed by architect Moshe Safdie, admire the sky, and pretend it’s not 4 degrees outside.

The paper rollercoaster craft (offered as part of the PEM’s “Eye Spy, Playing with Perception” exhibit through May) had the qualities of a good kids’ project: simple enough for little guys to enjoy and interesting enough to engage bigger kids. Plus you probably have all the stuff you need right in your house: glue sticks, strips of colored paper, and a piece of paper for a base.

Dab one end of a paper strip and press to the base. Twist, bend, or loop–then glue the other end and press. 

    My 10-year-old made his rollercoaster a continuous circuit. My five-year-old’s design defied the laws of physics, but he thought it looked really cool.

 

 On the way home, we drove by the Salem harbor,

 and it was winter again.

Bugs from recycled bits

Here’s a mantra to repeat to yourself when doing crafts with kids: process, not product. It will turn you into the craft whisperer. Especially if your child (like mine) swirls paints and blends play dough until each art work takes on the brackish hue and glurpy consistency of a murky bog.

Making bugs from bits collected from the recycling bin ended up to be a good project for everyone in my house, plus some friends. And the end results (not that I would be so superficial as to care, dear craft whisperer) were kind of cute. Plastic milk caps, bread tags, paper clips, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, ribbon, and scraps of paper turned into an pleasant infestation of creepy crawlies.