Making a cloth doll

When we first moved here, I started a list “100 uses for a sarong”. I’ve just barely made it to 20, so I guess 100 was quite ambitious. Maybe if I really break things down like 1. a carrier for betel nut 2. a carrier for water 3. a carrier for groceries…that might get me there.

I’ve since discarded the title. It’s now just a list of ways to use the multi-purpose sarong:

  1. Skirt
  2. Beach/after bath cover-up
  3. Towel
  4. Cape
  5. Head cover/sun cover
  6. Blanket
  7. Sleeping bag
  8. Changing room
  9. Backpack
  10. Baby carrier
  11. Child back carrier
  12. Chicken carrier
  13. Purse
  14. Nightgown
  15. Swing
  16. Baby hammock
  17. Stretcher
  18. Tablecloth
  19. Rain Jacket
  20. “hip pack” (if you are wearing a sarong as a skirt, you can wrap up oranges, candy, or whatnot in the front folds)
  21. Doll

Here’s the way that a doll is made:




Mr. Robot

Our ‘recycling’ bins are overflowing.
We don’t have a recycling truck that drives up to our house, and takes care of our trash. So, we have to get creative and try to re-use thing. We do have friends who love our bottles, and some of our cans. But, we often have more cans then we can deal with. That’s where Mr. Robot comes in.

We gathered up miscellaneous cans, wire, spray paint, paint pens, and some old wire.

G and a friend spray painted the body of the robot. Then they pulled off the labels on the tuna, and tomato paste cans. When the spray paint was dry I drew a face, hands, and legs on the cans.

Michael made holes in the cans with a large nail, and then fitted the cans together with a piece of red wire.

Mr. Robot has been loved and played with for the last few days. He has a amazing range of emotions that he can show with his tin face and limbs, but mostly it’s just melancholy. We are thinking of adding wires, and a frame to turn him into a puppet, and then we can teach him to dance.

Maybe that would cheer him up.

homeschooling: science

I mentioned before that Michael teaches the boys Science. Excuse me for a second while I praise my husband: Michael’s an excellent teacher that really knows how to make the lessons extra special. I like the Answers in Genesis curriculum because it has fun experiments planned out, but Michael has a knack for making them even better. In the book, God’s Design for the Heaven & Earth: Our Planet Earth, the boys learned about volcanoes; the different parts, vocabulary words, and famous volcanoes. The plan was to make the classic baking soda volcano.

So Michael took the original idea, and made it look awesome.

Which turned out to be a good thing because either our baking soda is too old, or our vinegar is too weak…so the exploding part was mostly a flop.

Here are the volcano bottle wrap files that the boys made for you.

Peter and the Wolf

For music class we have been reading through Story of the Orchestra
It’s a fun overview of composers, and instruments.

We’ve also been listening to classical music. It’s not something I used to enjoy very much, but with the kids I’ve taken a renewed interest. It helps that Leondard Bernstein
did so many great things for kids, one of them being Peter and the Wolf.

When we studied about Greek theater masks in The Mystery of History, I decided that we should try our hand at making some masks. At first I wanted to try papermache, but decided to simplify my life and make masks out of old cereal boxes.

The first thing we did is to cut out oval face shapes. Then I cut out the eyes. For the duck and bird, I cut out beaks. For Peter and his grandfather, I cut out noses and mouths. For the wolf I cut out a long snout shape. Finally, for the cat I cut out a mouth shape. I taped the various noses and beaks on with masking tape, and gave the masks to the boys to paint.

Once the base coat was dry we added details.

The duck and bird were given feathers.

I sketched noses and fur on the wolf and cat.

The wolf looks mean doesn’t he?

For the grandfather I used a brown, tan, white, and peach crayon to add wrinkles and details. We also cut out a frowny mouth since he’s not a very happy character.

Last but not least, I sketched a bit of detail on Peter, and we glued curly yarn hair on him.

Mama Made: slingshot bag

Confession: way back when I wrote about the trappings of boyhood, I made a fake prop bag (by draping a belt next to a cleverly folded cut off from my jeans) to sub in for when I actually got around to making the real thing.

Well, I finally made the real thing a few weeks ago, and it couldn’t have been easier. I should have done it months ago.
Here’s a slingshot bag modeled after the bag that most boys around here carry. It’s handy for stashing, yes slingshots, but also perfect small rocks, endless amounts of rubber bands, and maybe a bottle of water. Now that the big boy is spending most of his waking moments up in a tree, it’s just right for slinging it over his back, before he heads up.

the cut-off from an old pair of jeans (I made myself a pair of shorts, at the same time…tricky)
the leather strap from an old purse
brightly colored thread

First, cut off a 2-inch wide section from the top of the jean leg. Then turn the jean leg inside out, and whip-stich the top closed.

Take the 2-inch section and fold it in quarters so there are no raw edges hanging out. Whip-stich the edges. Sew onto the top of the bag, making a tab. Clip the purse strap to the tabs. Stitch triangles (or any other favorite design) on the front.

Mama Made: T-shirt to pillow

When we were in Thailand I bought a touristy t-shirt…one of the designs that caught my eye…a bear riding a mint colored vespa wearing black thick glasses, and a mustache, AND coral colored skinny jeans, AND with geometric triangle designs on his head. The hipsterness of it! All put together!
Alas my hipster t-shirt is a polyester blend of very hot, very not breathable fabric. I cut the bear out, and spent way too long trying to embroider it onto another shirt. But, it was a FAIL.

So I made a pillow.

Here’s how to turn your polyestery tourist t-shirts (or goodwill finds) into a pillow that your kids will fight over.
1. Cut out the image from the t-shirt.
2. Cut out a matching piece from the back of the shirts.
3. Put the two pieces right sides together with the shirt tag (in this case a cute tag that says “made in Thailand”) sticking out the side.
4. Stich around the outside edges, leaving a smallish hole for the stuffing.
5. Turn pillow right side out, and insert stuffing.
6. Whip-stich the hole closed.

If desired, before sewing the pillow together, you can embroider different parts of the picture to highlight them. I considered doing that with the glasses, but I’d already wasted too much of my crafting time trying to embroider it on the second t-shirt.

Now to decide which of the kid gets it…but for now it sits on my bed. Fortunately, Michael’s not at all jealous.