Kendamas have been a great hit in our school for the last months! A simple wooden toy with lots of possibilities – a bit like a yo-yo, the more you practice the more amazing your tricks are going to be. We have several at our house (including my husband!). I love the counterbalance to the usually omnipresent electronic devices and am amazed how crazy the kids are about this traditional toy.
Anyway, one day a boy in the second grade came to school with two versions of his own home-made “kendamas”. He took cups and small plastic balls to assemble them. Very clever. He asked, if we could make them in class and I finally found the practice golf balls that work best for this. You can, of course, use simpler balls for this project – felted balls, paper mache balls, even just bunched up aluminum foil or paper with a string attached. But here is the luxury version:
You need: small cups (5oz.), paper, practice golf balls (in sports shops, mine were $2.99 for 12 of them), string, glue stick, scissors, colored pencils, a hole puncher (optional).Make a template by cutting apart one of your (probably many) cups.
Trace this template onto a piece of paper. Draw your very own design and cut it out. Stick the made-to-measure paper with your design to the outside of another (whole) cup. Punch a hole (or use a big needle, knitting needle, skewer.. to make a hole). Cut a length of string (mine was about 20″ long) and, with the help of a crochet hook, pull it through two adjacent holes in the golf ball. Tie some knots. Tie the other end of the string to the cup and there you have it: a sweet and simple toy – all home-made!
(Thank you, Luca, for your inspiration!)
Posted in toys, crafts with children, paper craft, Tuesday Craft, teaching, school projects | Tagged paper craft, crafts with children, second grade craft, home-made toy, paper cup, practice golf ball, kendama | Leave a Comment »
Last week in second grade we made thaumatropes. You might also know them with an elastic or string attached to either side that you twist and release, so the two pictures on either side merge into one picture (at least that’s what your brain will do). I took the idea from this lovely book:
You will need a piece of paper, something to trace circles from (small glass), Scotch tape, scissors, (colored) pencil(s), and a dowel (I substituted the dowel with a round pencil).Trace two circles. Cut them out. Think of an image and take it apart, for example the bird and the birdcage. You could do a fish in a fish bowl, a cat on an armchair, a cherry on top of a muffin, a hat on top of a head…then draw on part of that image on one of the circles and the other on the other circle (in alignment – it helps to hold both circles up to the light or against a window to make sure the bird (for example) will actually sit in the birdcage and not beside it). Here are further ideas from the book. Next stick one of your circles with the picture facing the right way (up) onto your dowel with some sticky tape. Make sticky tape rolls and place them beside the dowel on either side, you can add more rolls all around the dowel (I just ran out of tape…). Stick the second circle to the sticky tape rolls with the picture facing out and – again – in alignment with the picture on the first circle.This is how you hold the dowel to see the complete picture (for lack of a third hand or a helper I was unable to take a picture of my own two hands doing this!). Rub your hands (with dowel) together as if your hands were cold. Do it fast, and watch the magic! And in case you used a pencil as your dowel and you are tired of looking at your picture you have a very charming pencil topper after all this.
My lovely second graders came up with ideas like this: a tongue licking an ice-cream cone, a boy playing with a soccer ball, a butterfly on a flower, a dollop of cream on top of an ice-cream sundae, a mermaid on a rock…as usual they were full of ideas and wonderful enthusiasm to go with it. Oh, I will miss them over the summer…
Posted in crafts with children, paper craft, school projects, toys | Tagged crafts with children, hand-made toy, paper craft, second grade craft, thaumatrope | Leave a Comment »
I returned on Sunday evening from the felting workshop, filled with exciting new techniques and lots of inspiration, eager to try out and experiment. I met seven wonderful fellow-felters and, of course, Lisa herself in all her energetic liveliness. She is such a professional, it is unbelievable!!! To see her unique (and I mean most unique) work “live” was just amazing.
She asked to not post any pictures of her or the participants, but I can show you what I worked on, although her teachings are less about how to produce and reproduce one item, but rather how to get to what you want to make. Very technique-driven, a lot of algebra, the perfectionism of which really appealed to me. I love working small and precise. My son rightly compared my experience to the old parable of learning how to fish rather than being given the fish. This is how I feel – the empowered felter…
We did some color grading by blending/carding it in different percentages,
laid out wool to prepare partial felts in different weights, three different weights here, four different weights here, an example of the kind of math that is required to reach your goal,based on her little bell pendantsI color-blended and laid out wool at 0.4 grams per square inch,
and arrived here together with the others (mine is the one in the middle),
another preparation using the partial felts from the beginning and 0.2 grams of wool per square inch, which turned into this little pendant (like I said, all experiments…), here we used the heavier of the partial felts to experience the effect, and all of this in a beautiful spot on the coast… it was perfectly magical!P.S. Check out Lisa’s Strongfelt page to find a workshop – if you are interested in some serious felting, it is really worth it.
Posted in felting, felting class, Uncategorized | Tagged Lisa Klakulak, Strongfelt, wet-felting | Leave a Comment »
My box (with materials) and my little suitcase (with clothes and toothbrush) and my bag (with a selection of about 15 books and magazines) are all packed, as I am off early tomorrow morning to attend a three-day workshop with felting artist Lisa Klakulak. I can’t believe I’m going!!! I can’t wait to meet her in person and to learn fabulous new things. I have admired her wonderful work for quite a while now and am so thrilled to be part of this workshop!
The theme of the workshop? “Resist-based Pendants: hollow forms, found object inclusion and dimensional surfaces (intermediate, advanced)” – music to my ears. Can you hear it?
All the following objects are pictures taken from the book “1000 Artisan Textiles“ – not to be confused with anything I ever made, as I bow in awe of her craftmanship and artistic talent (actually any book on felting and textile arts has images of STRONGFELT’s works in them).
Apart from the various bags and boxes (see above) I will also bring my still unfinished embroidery piece and after 6 hours of felting I will sit down in my cosy Bed & Breakfast and do some stitching. I am not quite sure how realistic this is…but, the occasions when I go away by myself for such a treat of a week-end are very rare. Very rare, indeed, and I am determined to enjoy every minute of it.
Posted in embroidery, felting, felting class, general inspiration | 4 Comments »
Nothing had changed for the Tuesday craft this past week. We were still working on the mother’s day gift, i.e. rolling paper beads, while the kids were being entertained by me reading some books to them (among others my all-time-favorite “The Gruffalo”…, but this is beside the point).
Other than that I am busy with more visitors from Germany who I want to show around hoping they’ll have an interesting stay here with us. This leaves not a lot of time for crafty things. One thing I started, though, was the April assignment for my embroidery class. This month the subject is raised stitches and three-dimensional work. First I prepared my surface by attaching felt circles, buttons, small pompoms and plastic gold coins to the pink felt square. This was all covered with a piece of silk organza and now I am busy stitching….in reality I am further than the photograph below (and in reality I have only two days left to finish!). As anticipated I thoroughly enjoy this type of work, seeing where it takes me as I go along with no fixed ideas about stitches and arrangement of stitches. All in all I will make 6 panels of the same dimensions and in the end assemble them into one wall hanging.
But let’s stay in the present moment and finish the first one first.
Posted in crafts with children, embroidery, Free Embroidery, wool felt | Tagged Anne Lange | 4 Comments »
We are going to start working on paper beads today to make a necklace as a Mother’s Day gift (Marijke, please be surprised all the same!). It takes a little concentration, patience and fine motor skills to roll the paper strips around a skewer and I think we will be doing this for this and next week, followed by the assembly of the necklace. I don’t mind an ongoing project for a change for a bit of long-term planning. It is open to them how many or few beads they want to make, once they know how, the children can work independently.
You need: pages from magazines (the cover works, too, but is harder to roll), a skewer, glue stick and later a piece of pretty yarn or string and some beads.
Cut the paper into strips about a half inch wide. Start rolling the paper strip around the skewer. Add a little glue after the first two or three rounds to prevent the paper from unwanted unravelling. Add glue again to the last inch or two to secure the roll. Slip bead off your skewer. Make more beads (5 or 10 or 20…you can even go double-stranded, in other words it is up to you how many beads you have the patience to make). String beads onto your piece of pretty thread, alternating with (in this case wooden) beads. You are done! Again, I love the simplicity of making something out of stuff you have lying around anyway. You can omit the wooden beads altogether, you can paint the beads or put glossy varnish on them and, depending on the paper you use, you can play around with a lot of possibilities there. Have fun experimenting!
Posted in crafts with children, paper craft, school projects, Tuesday Craft | Tagged Mother's Day, necklace, paper beads, recycling craft | 4 Comments »