Thursday, February 23, 2017

Straight from the Pantry Anise Play doh and Pasta Fun

You can create some pretty amazing things just from your grocery cupboard. The next time your little one is complaining they can't think of something to do why not dig into your cupboards and create. This post came about because last week my kids were all at a loose end so I handed them some giant pasta tubes and told them to paint. We used neon acrylics to get these super vibrant colors but did you know you can paint pasta with food coloring and vinegar? No need to ever buy special paints again! Anyway I'll share what we did because this invitation kept them busy and led to a few other play ideas.

You will need:

Pasta Tubes (Rigatoni or the likes)
Paint - acrylic as shown, or dye pasta using liquid water color/food coloring and vinegar
No cook
Play doh - created using flour, salt, oil, water, food coloring, cream of tarter, scent

The Pasta

 Step 1

I don't have pictures of this part of the process but its pretty self explanatory. Get pasta, add children and paint. We used brushes - how conventional - you could easily bulk color the pasta in bags with paint, play a roll the pasta around game where you add pasta and paint and roll, you could splatter paint or dip it. Really the ways to paint the pasta are endless but at the end you need to end up with a nice selection of painted tubes. We stood ours on their ends to dry and once dry stored them in a jar.

The Play doh

Step 2

To make the play doh I followed our no cook method which you can read here in more detail. Since I learnt how to make this no cook dough I never buy shop bought any more. Yes, it doesn't last as long as store bought but my kids throw it around so much the shop bought never used to last long either. This dough is edible (although tastes yuk) and I know exactly what my little one is eating if they are still at the put it in your mouth phase. It is also so super easy to make, takes less than 5 minutes in my kitchen aid that even my kids make it for themselves these days!

This recipe requires the following:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tbl spoon oil
2 tbl spoons cream of tartar 
A few drops of black food coloring  
A few drops of Anise extract
Mix all together then add one cup of hot water

Whizz on high for a minute or two and your done. If its sticky add a little more flour. Keep in a sealed container until ready to use. This play doh smells so good, you of course could use any scent but the smell of Anise went perfectly with our jet black play doh and bright colored pasta.

The Invitation

Step 3

Let the kids loose with the doh and the pasta. show them how they can build structures using the play doh as glue or how they can create shapes and patterns in the dough using the pasta.

You could even jar a little up and give it as a home made gift.

Step 4

An alternative to play doh would be to give your child a jar of the colorful pasta and a piece of yarn, ask them to thread a necklace for that special someone.

I tape the end of the yarn to make it easier for little fingers to thread.

This activity can lend itself to all sorts of maths patterns, counting and early sequencing. Plus you end up with a pretty awesome necklace.

Have fun with it and if you make anything be sure to tag us on IG with your creations we would love to see them! Our IG account is @thebluebarn. 

Happy Making

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Trash Bots

So I've had sick kiddos home with me for over a week, all four of my kids has come down with the flu in various severity and so I've been having to rack my brains to keep them entertained without resorting to screens all week. This project was the result of one of those activities and was such a big hit with all 4 of them I thought it worth a quick blog post to share it with you guys. It really is super easy to pull together, and if you save your recyclables you could probably make one right now.

What you'll need:

A cardboard packet (the little mac and cheese boxes they sell are perfect, we also made smaller ones from a cream cheese box)
Paint (acrylic goes on better for covering the box labeling)
Stickers various shapes
Bottle caps etc for decoration

Step 1

Take scissors and cut around the center of the package on three sides, (side-back-side).

Fold the two sides back on themselves,

Step 2

Paint. You can do this however you choose. We painted the inside of the mouth one color.

And the outside a different color.

My hand model!

Step 3

Once the paints dry you can decorate. Stickers for eyes and nose

Bottle cap ears, whatever you have be creative.

And Play

We hope you enjoy them as much as us

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sew a Valentine Softie

Have you been following our sewing posts? Others include our sew a softie butterfly from last summer and our cookie cutter gingerbread play set this past Christmas. These posts are part of the 'Sew a Softie' campaign started by Trixi over at the website Coloured Buttons, she lives in Australia and is a sewing teacher dedicated to bring sewing to the next generation. She started these sew a softie challenges to encourage kids to start sewing, and organized a collection of bloggers to get together at various points in the year to share simple sewing projects aimed at children.  

So today we are going to create some pretty hand stitched flowers. These would make anyone smile and make a great alternative to fresh flowers this Valentines. Plus they last forever.

You will need:

Poly filler
Embroidery thread
Wooden dowels
Print Template

Step 1

Placing two pieces of felt together use the template to draw one of the two flowers on to the top piece. Cut them out so you have two identical pieces. Sew or glue a button onto the middle of one of the flowers. 

Step 2

Begin sewing the two cut flower shapes together. Sewing all around the outside of the flower.

When you get so there is only one petal left to sew stop.

Step 3

Using glue attach the wooden dowel to the inside of the flower. We used the hot glue gun but a fabric glue would work as well. 

Once the dowel is in place and dried (if using a fabric glue) you can stuff the flower with the poly fill.

Once you have stuffed the flower we finished up stitching around the base of the flower. If its a little awkward around the wooden dowel get an adults help.

We finished our flowers off with a little ribbon and a love token. Who wouldn't be excited to receive one of these handmade gifts this Valentines?

Happy Valentines Day to you all 😘

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Rainbow Banners with Messages of Love

Sometimes projects just seem to evolve, take on a life of there own and become something else altogether, these are always the best projects. Todays project is one of those. Picture this, snowy day, kids dismissed early from school, no real idea of what they want to do other than annoy each other and me. Me trying to get all the tasks I'd planned for the day done and failing miserably. I set newspaper out all over the table to protect it while they painted but after they finished their paintings the newspaper became a free for all. 'Lets be graffiti artists' and so they were.

But what to do with the end result? Too beautiful to recycle right away, what can we make? And the evolution began. If you want to have a go at making a wall hanging heres a few helpful items.

You will need:

Hole punch
Beads - or make your own like we did from polymer clay
Parcel tag - real or make your own

Step 1

Have your kids go to town on some old Newspaper. Encourage them to fill all the space, change colors and use bold shapes. Once covered leave out to dry.

Step 2

We had painted double sheets so go make the hangings more manageable we tore the paper into single sheet sizes. Then begin to fold back and forth back and forth to create a fan.

Step 2

Take your folded newspaper and punch a hole in the center through all the layers.

Step 3

If you are using beads or something ready made such a bottle caps or pasta shapes then you can skip this step. 

We created our own beads from Sculpey clay we had. Each bead was made from one strip. (Each packet has the strips marked into it once you unwrap it.) Taking a strip roll into a ball and using a wooden skewer create a hole through it. Bake in the oven as directed on clay packet.

Step 4

Take a long stand of yarn (about 3ft) fold into half, the loop will become the top of your piece. Take two more strands of yarn each about 12 inches, fold each of them in half too. 

Now match up all the loose ends, where the two shorter loops meet with the longer piece of folded yarn tie them on in a knot.

You can now thread on the lower three beads. Use a wooden skewer to push the yarn through if you need to.

Once you have threaded the three base beads on you can thread the folded newspaper onto the yarn. Its easier to do this with it all still folded together. Push it down to the beads.

Now at the top about three inches down from the loop tie a second knot. You may need to double or even triple knot this, you want the knot to be big enough for another bead to sit on top of it.

 Once you have tied the knot thread on another bead. Gently fan out the paper.

They can be hung on the wall as they are and they are very beautiful as is, take a look.

We however decided to add in one more detail.
Step 5
For this last detail you could decorate a luggage/parcel tag. We created our own by cutting rectangles from watercolor paper and punching holes in one end. Since we are near Valentines and the world definitely needs more love we pulled out our Valentines stamps for it.
To attach these tags we simply threaded the yarn through the hole of the tag before adding the final bead. This way it sits near the top but you could totally add it nearer the bottom or even add multiple tags with different messages on.

Such a beautiful way to display a piece of artwork and to think this was our old newspaper under sheet!

Wishing you all love, peace and happiness this February!