Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Colorful fun...

Need a little something to do with the kiddos on a rainy day like today? Or a day you want to stay in your jamjams? I have a great suggestion -- fun-shaped crayons. Now, this isn't my idea; I got the idea from one of my favorite craft blogs here. However, I couldn't find the same things she used, so this is my alternative way...

I've done this with my nephews, who came to visit me for Spring Break, and for my preschool group, both with positive results. They look tasty, huh? My brother-in-law was really disappointed they were crayons and not candy. But that's a good lesson: Make sure to remind the kids not to eat them. :)

To do this, I bought a cheap pack of crayons from the dollar store and a candy mold (which are available at the big box retail or the craft store for fairly cheap). I used some small glass dishes, a sheet of wax paper to contain the mess and some toothpicks.

First, I peeled the paper off the crayons and let my nephew break them into pieces, which I put into the small, glass dishes. When L found out he got to break the crayons, he got a huge grin on his face and told me, "I'm good at breaking things." Haha! I'm sure you are, buddy.

We did three crayons per batch (which was enough wax for two spots in the candy mold). I put them in the microwave on regular heat for 2.5 to 3 minutes -- but watch out! The crayons don't have to be completely melted. When I did this again for preschool, I let the first batch go a full 3 minutes and it was too hot; it kinda melted my candy mold. If you can still see some sticks, use your toothpic to stir the wax and they'll finish melting. Also another caution: Plan on having several hot pads available!! Be careful with your containers because they get super hot!

I kinda stired the wax with a toothpick to make sure it was melty, then carefully holding the container, I poured the wax into the mold (I had to do this quickly so it didn't dribble down the side of the container). If you want to use several different colors and make them swirly but not mixed, just use the toothpick to make sure it's melted and try not to stir it too much. Then I used the toothpick to get out most of the remaining wax.

Because my nephew was anxious to get coloring, I slipped the candy mold into the fridge so the crayons would set up sooner, but it didn't seem to take too long for the wax to cool. I let them set up at room temperature for preschool and they turned out well. Also, they're sometimes really waxy on the outside, but my nephew found that after he got past the outer layer, they colored pretty well.

My little man (right) and his other cousin, J, trying to pick what color they wanted to use.

On a side note, as soon as I put the glass dishes in the sink I ran a little water on them and the wax immediately solidified. This made it a little easier to get out of there. My dishes were still pretty waxy, though, and required some scrubbing and scraping, but I was able to get all the wax off. If it's having a hard time, just turn the water heat up and it seemed to make it easier to get out. The crayons popped right out of my candy mold when I flipped it over, and I used a toothpick to pick off the big bits of wax leftover. Your dishes you can get clean, but I suggest you only use the candy mold for crayons... :)

L working hard at his page... He LOVED this project. He asked me so sweetly the next day if he could take the crayons home with him, and then he was so excited when we wrapped them up in a bag for him to take home.

Hmmmmmm... Now which one should I use?

Thanks for coming to see me boys! I'm so glad you liked your crayons. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Final sew-along segment...

Thanks for everyone doing our little sew-along! Let's get it finished up -- we took a break for Spring Break, but I think we can finish the last two parts of the pattern by next Saturday (April 2). Do the outside of the bag, your embellishment and go ahead and put the whole thing together. Make sure to take a picture of your finished project and send it to me or post it here so we can all enjoy your great bag!

My sis was speedy and finished her's up last week -- cute, huh?

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Free Pattern -- Layered Crochet Flower

It's almost spring, and I am thinking about flowers! This is my own little way of doing crochet flowers. You can do a lot with this flower pattern -- use different colors, add or subtract levels and increase or decrease size. I must confess -- I've never written a pattern before, so feel free to leave me a comment with suggestions or questions. :)

You'll find a pdf of the pattern here. Feel free to use this pattern however you like, just please give me credit if you sell the flowers. Also, please respect my copyright and don't claim this pattern as your own. Thanks for visiting and enjoy your flowers!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 2 of Sew-along...

Yeah, it's time to get going on that bag! Thanks so much for all your suggestions so far -- they've been extremely helpful, and I'm very glad the pictures are helping. So on to week two: Let's take the first section of the bag, the inside.

This week you'll get your inside pieces together, put the pocket on, and do the sides and corners. I expect the pocket and the corners to be the most difficult part of this pattern, so PLEASE let me know if you have any questions. :) We'll set the deadline for Saturday again (March 12). Happy sewing!