Sunday, July 24, 2011

Build Your Own Adventure Bag

One of the neatest things you can equip your kiddos' with for when they are out in the "wild" is an adventure bag full of fun.
I whipped up these bags from scrap fabric pieces and burlap I had floating about but you can use any pre-made bag. Having a strap so that the bag hangs cross-wise over the body is probably best. That is how both ander and zaza wore theirs. One that is not-so-fancy and water proof-ish is a good idea as well.
Here's what we put inside the bags:
*pack of gum
*handmade book or notebook
*small plastic baggies for collecting
*magnifying glass
*paper clips
*pencil & sharpener
*index cars & tags

Monday, July 18, 2011

revisiting a classic: tin-can telephone

Did ya know that tin-can telephones work just as well with styrofoam cups? We had some cups from a recent eatery visit so we brought them home with us and used fishing line and they worked! Now they're even more customizable. Break out the markers and get to tinkering!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

garden time

It's down to the wire and I am far past cutting it close but I wanted to encourage those of you in the states to plant pumpkins! July 4th is generally a good reminder for a last date to get some seeds started but I suppose if you are not going for a world record, why not start some now? One vine is all you need to produce a handful of the happy gourds and the variety out there to choose from is extraordinary so why not grab some potting soil, an egg carton and a pack or two of seeds and begin?

I have had two packs of seed lazing about a bowl in the garden patiently waiting to be dunked in soil. I also have an ENORMOUS vine taking over the yard that currently has three not-so tiny pumpkins ballooning from its curly tendrils. Methinks the seed will wait until next year. Like I mentioned up there, all ya need is one vine. They can grow massive and quite beastly but they are super cool and there is much to view when given a chance.
Pumpkin vines are prickly to the touch. Not overly painful but prickly enough to want to wear gloves or be careful when handling the beast. The blossoms open quite early in the morning and you may often find a lone bee cozying up inside. The pollen of a pumpkin plant is quite attractive to bees, I have especially noticed the awkward black bumblebees bouncing about from orange blossom to orange blossom. The stems are hollow and the tiny tendrils and leaves that form have a mightier than mighty grip as they curl about stray garden gnomes, tools and furniture.
To tame your vine, you can liberate the stems that have not produced any blossoms. If you take a gander everyday you will notice that once the flowers poop out, a baby pumpkin takes its place. Each seed will produce one vine which will sprout secondary vines. Keep an eye on your main vine and prune out the secondaries. Once your main vine gets a handful of pumpkins popping up, you can pinch off the end to prevent more from growing thus rescuing your garden from complete pumpkin invasion.
To harvest, use garden shears to liberate your prized squash. do this 5-6" away from the fruit so that you have a delightful stem. Set in a cool dry place until carving or baking time. Pumpkins like sunlight and heat so if yer getting close to frosty temps, harvest sooner than later. There are all sorts of websites out there devoted to pumpkins and they all read fairly technical-like. Our pumpkins tend to be volunteers from the compost pile so we know where they like to grow. By starting your seeds inside and then replanting a few all over the place you will hopefully find a location that the happy sprouts enjoy. The only other thing i can add (until I remember more) is that after a while, powdery mildew may set in thus making your happy pumpkin vine look a little less than happy. Stick with it and harvest as soon as your pumpkins turn orange, though we have been known to pick em green and watch them turn orange as they ripen. We also do not use pesticides and would recommend you do not either. Cucumber beetles might move in like gang busters but if yer not growing any large food crops you can simply flick them off with your fingers.
And if pumpkins aren't your thing, plant something else whether it is food (strawberries & lettuce!) or flowers (sunflowers!), getting your hands dirty in the name of gardening is generally a delightful thing.

More pumpkin growing info:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

have dough? add sprinkles!

Do you remember this recipe? With a little yellow cake mix magic, I turned 'em into cake batter sugar buns! Sooo good!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 4th: newspaper pom-poms

I am sure there are oodles of tutorials out there for paper pom-poms but I have one for you anyway using the swath of painted newspaper I did up earlier. It's really easy and will give yer kiddos something to do between melty popsicles and fireworks. Here's how I did it.
Grab a sheet of painted up newspaper. One large piece is a good start. Cut or tear it in half and then in half again.
Fold each piece in half width-wise and cut up from open-edges almost to the fold every finger-width or so. The thinner the cuts, the pommier the poms.

 Take two cut pieces for each pom and smoosh them into each other while still folded. Tuck into a painted or paper covered cardboard tube and staple or tape into place. You may wish to use a bit of double stick tape or glue here. A little shaking can shake all sorts of shakey paper loose. Next,  fold tube in half length-wise and staple again to create a handle.  If you wish, decorate the handle with stickers and other bits of fun.
Take yer new poms out and go a little rah-rah crazy. Happy 4th!

paint some newspaper today

for craft making tomorrow...
*paper hats

and stay tuned for newspaper pom-poms (my paper is still drying)!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

make a july 4th garland!

 I designed this project for craftzine for us crafty grown-ups but you can totally tweak it so yer wee ones can play as well. They can paint up the bunting bits after you have added the tap as well as smoosh up the cupcake liner and glue things in place. The how to can be found over  at craftzine.