Friday, June 17, 2011

Being Crafty

Anyone with kids knows how hard it can be those first few weeks of summer vacation, when the constant pace and activity of school suddenly stops, and the kids are having to find their own means of killing time.  What they often resort to tends to kill mom while killing time, and we can't keep going "somewhere" everyday.

Enter my crafty plan.  I get a break from the constant bickering they usually call entertainment and hopefully, something pretty or practical out it.  They think it's all about them.  See?  Crafty.

Our first craft seemed simple enough.  Inspired by a picture on Pinterest of these hollow yarn balls, I wondered if it could be done in a more beach cottagy jute.  Got some basic jute twine, a bottle of Elmer's glue and a package of balloons - let's try it.  They struggled a bit more than I thought, but in the end, they turned out pretty nice.


Step 1:  Blow up balloons to a variety of sizes, 2-5" diameter.
Step 2:  Mix Elmer's glue about 60/40 (glue/water) in a bowl.  You can reportedly use fabric stiffener instead, in which case, skip the water.
Step 3:  Cut off a loooong piece of jute (or yarn, if that's what you are using).
Step 4:  Put the length of jute in the glue mixture; keep track of one end.  I used a fork to mash it down into the glue and the glue into it.  Get it good and saturated.
Step 5:  Start pulling the jute out from the glue, running your thumb and forefinger down the string as you remove it to squeeze out the excess glue.  Loosely wrap around your hand as you go; keeps it from being tangled when you get to the next step.
Step 6:  Wrap the string around the balloon in all directions, randomly.  You want holes, but not really big ones, so look for inconsistent gaps in coverage.  If you run out of string before you are done, just start another piece.  If you mess up, unwrap and try again.  They are very forgiving.  Tuck the end.
Step 7:  Set to dry on wax paper or plastic wrap at least overnight; rotate to make sure all sides get dry.   Yes, they smell like the mustiest cabin you ever camped in as a kid, but don't worry, they'll be fine once dry.
Step 8:  Once they are dry, pop the balloon and pull the pieces out with a tweezer.
Step 9:  Enjoy!  Piled in a large vase, basket or bowl, they add great texture and your kids can brag that they made them.

Now, to keep them away from the cat...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Here we go...

Well, I've done it.  I've clicked that little "create a blog" button and it's all downhill from here...

So, what will this be?  I'm not entirely sure.  My primary purpose is to keep thoughts, memories, lists, pictures, opinions, comments from friends, etc. in a place that will remain accessible if the computer crashes or the diary gets lost in clutter, flood or fire.  You might say that shows what a worrywart I can be; I prefer to see it as being proactive.  If you want to come along for the ride, I'd love the company.

I hope this is often funny and sometimes practical.  It'll probably be prone to sap because I'm a sentimental schmuck.  And despite my children's seemingly incredible antics that will no doubt be recorded here, it will all be true, which is why this may also become the proof of why I ended up in a padded room.

Laura Ingalls Wilder once wrote that "if we expect to enjoy our life we will have to learn to be joyful in all of it, not just at stated intervals, when we can get time, or when we have nothing else to do."  When you have twelve hats and more, many of them worn simultaneously, you rarely have the luxury of setting aside time for "fun" and certainly are never lacking for something that must be done.  You have to find the joy and the special in the moment - and then record it.

So put on your seatbelt - here we go...