Posts Tagged ‘ crafts ’

Fun Placemats to Make: ‘Let’s Sew Together’

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Want to make a handpainted skirt, dollhouse pillow or world-map quilt with your little kids? Me too! I’m obsessed with beginning sewing project. You know, the ones that are so easy an intelligent monkey can do them. This book, Let’s Sew Together: Simple Projects the Whole Family Can Make, hits the spot, and my kids are already picking out summer projects for us to do together. Author and mom of four, Rubyellen Bratcher, has been blogging about her DIY adventures on Cakies for years. Now she’s written this book filled with sewing, crafts, play and educational ideas. Super cute.

She’s let us run an excerpt from Let’s Sew Together below so you and your little ones can make reversible placemats. Find more sewing projects from Parents, too!

Cheerful Flip ’Em Placemats
These placemats not only protect the dinner table but will also make you smile when you see your child’s artwork and your handiwork together. Mix or match fabric and embroidery on opposite sides so you can flip ’em over for a whole new look.

Skill Level: Sew Quick

Basic sewing supplies (needles, thread, scissors)

Eight 14″ x 18″ (35.5cm x 45.5cm) pieces of lightweight cotton fabrics for 4 placemats (use contrasting or coordinating fabrics for each side)

Four 14″ x 18″ (35.5cm x 45.5cm) pieces of cotton flannel fabrics (to give weight to the placemats)

Fabric markers

Embroidery hoop

Embroidery floss in colors to match fabric markers

Seam Allowance: 1⁄2″ (13mm)

Finished Measurements: 13″ x 17″ (33cm x 43cm)


• The placemats can be adjusted to fit your table. We have a vintage farm table, which is significantly smaller than regular dining tables, so these placemats are a wee bit smaller than the norm. A traditional placemat size is 13″ x 19″ (33cm x 48.5cm). If desired, adjust the size of the placemats to work best for your dining table, adding 1″ (2.5cm) to the width and height for the seam allowance.

• To make coordinating cloth napkins, cut out large fabric squares, fold the edges under by 1⁄4″ (6mm) twice, and topstitch in place. You’re all set for a lovely family dinner.

• Have each child design his or her own placemat for family meals—perhaps with a favorite fruit, favorite animal, or simply colorful shapes.

1. With fabric markers, have your child draw a design on one corner of each placemat. (Leave the reversible side plain.) Be sure to let the design dry completely and iron to heat-set the designs in place.

2. Place the section of the placemat with the design in an embroidery hoop, and embroider (page 20) some parts of your child’s design to give it more dimension.

3. Place the front and back fabrics together with right sides facing, place the cotton flannel on top, and sew around the perimeter of the placement, leaving a 3″ (7.5cm) opening for turning. Clip the corners, turn inside out, and press. Repeat for each placemat.

4. Topstitch 1/4″ (6mm) from the edge around the entire placemat.

Have a cute dinner together!

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Stuck at Home with Kids? Try This Cute Craft from ‘Yellow Owl’s Little Prints’

Monday, December 30th, 2013

As a new mom herself, author Christine Schmidt wrote a beautiful little book called Yellow Owl’s Little Prints: Stamp, Stencil and Print Projects to Make for Kids. She believes everyone should be able to create cute crafts.

Doing fun little projects is especially important and rewarding when you’re stuck home with the kids. (You know, not stuck–it’s just that these holiday breaks are long! Here are a few more crafts from Parents editors.) Christine came up with ideas that don’t require a lot of equipment or time to achieve but are still covetable. Readers will learn skills such as carving a personalized stamp that can be used on stationery, baby blankets, tote bags or bed linens; painting a rug to perfectly match their child’s bedroom décor; and making a keepsake box that will become a family heirloom.

Christine (left) says these are great for baby showers, too. Here’s one she says you can start on right now:

Alphabet Block Rubbing

Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Love: Spelling our kid’s name or a favorite quote with a simple technique that anybody can master.

Set of wooden alphabet blocks
Large rubber band or elastic tie
9″ x 12″ sheet of vellum
Colored pencils

1. Arrange alphabet blocks face up to spell out the word or name.
2. Rotate extra blocks so the flat side is up and place them around the perimeter of the word.
3. Secure the blocks together with a rubber band.
4. Place vellum over the blocks. Put on hand on the blocks to secure the paper to the blocks. Use a colored pencil in the other hand to rub the raised surface of the blocks.
5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 as needed for additional words or names. Align the paper below the first line and rub with the nib of a colored pencil.


Upcycled Bumblebee Craft: How-To Video
Upcycled Bumblebee Craft: How-To Video
Upcycled Bumblebee Craft: How-To Video

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Never Be Bored Again: Have Serious Fun with the Book ‘Unbored’

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Today’s a cold and rainy day where I live. I’ve got plenty to do, I just don’t plan on doing it. Instead, I’m loving a brand new book called Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun. It’s got a great message, “Use the world, or let the world use you.” I’m down with that.

The authors, Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, show us that we can always be up to something. We just need to take time to goof off, craft, play games and prank each other. Forget tutoring and extra homework. Instead, use your hands and brains (and old batteries) with your kids to feel feel instantly happier and more connected.

This is the ultimate craft and curiosity book. The illustrations are vivid, funny and, best of all, super clear. Have you ever heard of “The Game?” Oh boy, I wish I hadn’t read about that one. Unbored also talks about how to roughhouse in the section called “Rules of Combat.” And you know that crazy You Tube video with the exploding Coke and Mentos? (I posted it on the next page.) Unbored tells you exactly how to repeat the explosive experiment at home with your kids. (Outside, preferably near a water hose.) The balancing poses for two people, called “Circus Tricks,” will keep my young children busy for hours this weekend.

From recycling old things to learning how to curse without cursing, this is the coolest activity book for all ages I’ve seen in a long time. Build a tipi or an igloo. Giggle while you short sheet someone’s bed. Fix your bike and make a secret book safe. Unbored includes 344 pages of seriously fun stuff to do.

The kids will love the activities–younger ones need supervision but older ones can take this book and run. Mine will just have to pry Unbored away from me first. After all, I may short sheet their beds, but I don’t want them to figure out how to do it to me! (more…)

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