Friday, April 30, 2010

Earth Fair Signs

The Earth Fair in my town is next Saturday, May 8th from 12 - 3 pm in the Chelmsford, MA. Town Common.  I had finished making and laminating 8 large street posters advertising the fair on Tuesday.

Yesterday a friend and I put the posters into 4 large metal signs.  One poster for each side of the sign.  Then I placed them in different places about town.  You can kind of see the sign between the other 2 signs in the picture above.  I had to get permission to post 2 of the signs, because they are in the historical part of town.  Jones Farm allowed me to put one of the signs along the road in front of their store.  You might have seen Phil Jones of Jones Farm on a recent set of you tube videos on my you tube channel.

Now I need to make some more things to sell at the fair.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spool Knit Rug

Earlier this month I came across my favorite Lily's Sugar'n Cream color way on sale, so I bought 10 skeins of it.  Since our basement had a small flood, I wanted to have a nice rug that could hold up to another flood.  This was the perfect yarn for that.  I usually use it to make dishcloths, so it is absorbent and washable.  I took out my spool knitter and used the larger of the 2 inserts, then I started knitting my rug.  I plan on machine sewing it in an oval spiral using a zig zag stitch.  I just started my 4th skein of yarn last night.  While on vacation, I went through 2 1/2 skeins.  The 2nd skein I used up in a single day.  Now when making this, the cord (knitted yarn) gets very twisted.  The easiest way to get it untwisted is to make a hank with the knitted cord, then hold it up and let it untwist itself.  You can see my hank in the picture.  I plan on using all 10 skeins before sewing it into a rug.  I highly recommend this spool knitter (link above) over other spool knitters.  I was working on this at my quilt guild last Monday, and a few of the ladies said that they planned on buying one after seeing how much easier this one is to use.

This is also a good way to use up left over skeins of yarn.  You can make a multicolored / multi-yarn rug like this.  I have also made matching hot pads with left over dishcloth skeins.  The picture above is a hot pad that I made out of 3 leftover skeins.  After washing it, it was no longer flat.  All I had to do was spray it with some water and iron it flat again.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ten Thousand Villages

"In a new take on a traditional musical instrument, artisans in Burkina Faso make ingenious use of recycled aluminum cans to craft these whimsical thumb pianos. Pieces of wood, decorated with burned patterns, form the top of the instrument. Thumb pianos come in assorted patterns."

While visiting my parents, my dad took us to Ten Thousand Villages.  It is a fair trade store that has a cafe (serving food from different villages) and many wonderful items for sale.  I had not been there since high school.  My kids picked out these musical instruments that are made out of recycled cans.  They make beautiful music.  This was one of many beautiful items that were made from recycled materials.

We also got this garden place marker for my mother-in-law while there.  It is made from terra cotta by artisans in Bangladesh.  It says "grow in peace."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Soda/Pull Tabs Galore!

During my trip to Lancaster, PA. last week my mom and I went to my favorite Farmers' Market, Roots.  It is open every Tuesday throughout the year.  While there we came across something new, a bunch of things made out of soda/pull tabs.  These items were made by Michael Mixell.  I was able to meet him.  He was wearing a pull tab tie and cell phone holder.  There were several more items for sale than what is in the picture.  He makes shirts, pants, hats, skirts, fanny pouches, cell phone holders, water bottle holders, neck ties, etc.  You can find out more about Michael and see more of his creations at his website.  The amount of items that he has made out of pull tabs has really inspired me.  I want to make a pair of soda tab earrings soon.

I'll be sharing some more eco-crafts from my trip this week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday School: Making Paper Beads

I just got back from Pennsylvania yesterday.  I was not ready to teach Sunday school today, but luckily I had the 1st graders for a second time.  A simple project was to make paper beads.  I kept seeing paper bead jewelry during my trip in different stores.  With Mother's Day approaching, this was a great recycling project to do with the kids.    The first step is to cut long triangles out of an old magazine.  The width of the base of your triangle will be the width of your bead.

You will need scissors, glue, and skewers as well.

Roll the base of the paper triangle around the skewer, and keep rolling until all of the paper is wrapped around the skewer.  Then add a drop of white glue to it, and coat the bead with the glue.  Let it dry and then remove it from the skewer.  You can coat your bead with a clear varnish as well if you like.  Then you are ready to use them to make your own jewelry.

Some of the kids really enjoyed making them.  Many of them made beads for Mother's Day.

One girl arranged her beads like this on the table.  I thought that it would look great strung up like this.

Then I found this picture on the internet.   What a great snowflake like ornament.

Here is another internet find.  These paper beads were used to make this handbag.

And here is what the beads can look like when made into a necklace.  I want to make some beautiful paper bead jewelry for myself soon.  For some clear instructions on how to make these beads, you can follow this link.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In Pennsylvania

Yesterday we hit the road for Spring break.  The kids and I are visiting my parents in Pennsylvania.

These are 2 roadrunner sculptures that my uncle made out of railroad spikes.  The spikes come out and have to be replaced.  My uncle collects the ones that have fallen out and have been replaced.  I am hoping to get my own roadrunners sculptures for my yard this summer.

Here is a sculpture that I made in high school out of old gears that I found in a junk yard.  This is not how it is suppose to look.  Apparently it fell and broke and my dad put it back together like this.  I would need a propane torch to reattach it the right way.  I was lucky to be able to take a metal sculpture class in high school.  The shop teacher and one of the art teachers worked together to teach the class.

Just because we were on the road did not mean that we should forget about recycling.  I saved the plastic bottles and cans that we had during our trip and recycled them when we got to my parents' house.  The beer can was not mine.  I don't drink alcohol.

When traveling with young kids there are three items that I always bring: a new sketch pad, crayons, and play-dough.  This goes for a long car ride and an airplane ride.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Felt Story Board

Yesterday I made a two sided, portable felt story board for my son for his 3rd birthday.  We are going on a road trip to my parents' house for his birthday, and I wanted him to have this for the car ride.  He got to test it out today, and he loves it.  I also was able to show it to a friend of mine who is a storyteller.

First I cut a standard sized foam board in half so that it was 15" x 20".  Next time I will use a foam board that my oldest used for a school project, thus recycling it.  You could also use 2 pieces of thick cardboard for this.

I was thrilled to find this felt in the store.  It is made from post consumer plastic bottles (recycled materials).  Normally I pick a black one and a white one for these boards, but they did not have black or white available.  So I picked a natural color and the blue.  They could be the ocean, the sky, the sand, and a blank background.  The main idea is to have 2 different colors that can be a great back drop for the felt stories and the imagination.  These pieces of felt are cut from a bolt.  It is not the little sheets bought in the craft section of the store.

Lay your board over the felt, on the side that you consider the back.  Then cut the felt out so that you have an inch or two all the way around the board.  Then cut the corners off of the felt.

Using tacky or fabric glue, glue the felt to the back of the board.  Do not glue the front of the board, because that might mess up your felt.  Do this with with both boards and both sheets of felt.

Cut some ribbon to the length that you would like your handle to be.  Glue it to the back side of one of the boards.  Put glue all over the back of one board, especially along the sides.  Then lay the other board on top of it, back sides together.

Clamp the two boards together.  I bought some of these clamps at the craft store and some at the office supply store.  Allow your boards to dry for at least an hour before moving on to the next step.  I placed an object that wasn't to heavy on the center of the board while it dried.  You don't want it to heavy, because you don't want your board to get dented.

Next glue the ribbon around two sides of your board, on the front and back of the board.  Also place some glue in any open cracks where the two boards meet.  Then clamp the ribbon / boards once more and let it dry over night.  The ribbon will help keep the 2 boards together even more, plus it adds a nice finishing touch.

I made a black and white one for my nephew when he turned 3.  His ribbon had baseballs on it.  Then I made him some fun felt stories, including a felt birthday cake and candles.  He loved it.

Luckly I kept all of my felt stories that I made over 3 years ago.  I use to be a preschool teacher, and I loved making felt stories for my classroom.  It's a great way for kids to retell stories that they love from books or songs.  They can make up their own stories as well.  The lady bugs were for a lady bug counting book that I have.  The blue horse and black sheep were from an Eric Carle book.  The others were just for fun.  The bigger animals have glow-in-the-dark paint on them.

A perfect on-the-road thing to do.  He loved it.

How I made the lady bugs and Santa Claus felt pieces:  You will need fabric with your subject on it (lady bugs, frogs, etc.), fusable webbing, a sheet of felt, an iron, and scissors.  Lay down the felt with the fusable webbing on top of it.  Then place your fabric on top of that.  Iron them together.  This does take some time.  Then cut out your felt pieces and reiron them (sometimes they aren't fully fused to the felt).  Now you have some professional looking felt story pieces.

How I made the other felt pieces:  I cut the shapes out using a die-cut machine.  I do have my own, but some of them were done at a craft store.  Some craft stores have one for public use if you buy something from them.  Also some teaching supply stores will let you use theirs for a small fee.  You can also use a template and cut out the pieces.  The sheep and horse were from home made templates.  I copied pages from the book, and then cut out the shapes for those pages.  Then I used puffy fabric paint (from the craft store) to decorate them.  I like the look of them with an outline around them.

This is my favorite website for getting the templates and stories for the felt: preschool express.
Here are some of the stories from this site that I have made into a felt story:
The Baker's Cat
Wee Willie Winkie
Ten Little Pumpkins
Snowflakes Falling Down
The Eensy Weensy Spider
Rainbow Bunny

Thursday, April 15, 2010

3 videos on making things out of soda tabs

How to crochet a soda tab heart and clover.

How to crochet a soda tab flower.

Making  a soda tab bracelet.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You Tube Videos

In the past week I have uploaded 8 videos on my you tube channel.  All of them are from my local access t.v. show.  Three are about light pollution with guest Kelly Beatty.  Two are about making a notebook out of a Kool Aid juice pouch cardboard box.  You can use any kind of cardboard box for it.  One is the animation that I made for the opening of the show.  It is a stop motion animation, and I used magazine clippings for it.  Then the two that I uploaded today are with Phil Jones, a local farmer who talks about going a step beyond organic farming.

In the past I would just change the 30 minute show into three 10 minute clips for you tube (which only allows a max of 10 minutes).  Now I am re-editing the show to try and cut it down to 1 or 2 videos.  I want to reedit my first episode and possibly other ones so that each video has a single lesson in it.  Maybe I'll do that during vacation.  It takes time to put the show on my computer, edit it, convert it for internet use, then upload it to you tube.  Thank goodness I have so much do to off the computer these days, because some of those things take 30 minutes to an hour for the computer to do.

If you have an idea for a future video, please let me know.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fund Raising for the Earth fair

Tonight was the Friendly's Family Fun Night to raise money for the Chelmsford Earth Fair.  It was my mom's idea, and it was a great idea.  I needed to raise some money to pay for advertising and other things for the Earth Fair.  A percentage of tonight's profits go towards the Earth Fair.  We got a nice turn out, and the profits were higher than the average Tuesday night.  It was from 5 - 8 p.m., and 3 of us took on an hour shift each.  We welcomed people as they came through the door, and told them about the Earth Fair (and passed out flyers).

My next step is to make the signs before I go on a week long vacation on Saturday.  I also called the host of Town Talk, a local access weekly t.v. show, and set up a date to come on to talk about the Earth Fair. I have been advertising it on my show, but a lot more people watch Town Talk (I think).

If you haven't noticed, I've got the Earth Fair on my brain.  This is my second year organizing it, and my 3rd year participating in it.  There is a lot going on this week that needs to get done for it.  The Earth Fair  is on May 8th in my town.  This is because the schools' Spring break is the week of Earth Day.   In the past we had a poor turn out as a result.  So this year we moved it in hopes of drawing a bigger crowd.  I have defiantly done a lot more in the way of advertising for it this year.  It should be a beautiful day.

Trash Can Be Art

Someone on the Trash to Treasure Ravelry group posted this link that has a lot of amazing artwork that was made out of trash.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Weekend: Art, flowers, cows, & class

My in-laws came for a visit on Saturday and left this morning.  On Saturday we all went to my town's flower show.  The flowers were arranged in a way so that they mimicked the art work.  I loved the design of this quilt.

Here is a painting of a koi pond with a lady sleeping at the bottom.  You can see a resemblance in the flower arrangement.

This painting caught my eye.  All of these paintings and other pieces of art were made by local artists.

Here is a ceramic bowl.  There were several beautiful ones on the table.  I fell in love with this one.

This is made out of cardboard.

Purple Crocuses by Donna Berger, acrylic on canvas.

Butterfly Jungle  by Donna Berger, acrylic on canvas.

Then afterwards we went to a local park for some ice cream.  They have cows, goats, sheep, and ducks there.  The ice cream place won't open for another week.

This cow licked my toddler's head, which was both funny and gross.  This is the section that they keep all of the calfs.  It makes me sad for so many reasons that I don't want to go into.   But basically I hope to cut dairy out of my diet and hopefully out of my house one day.

This morning starts a new series of Sunday School classes at my church.  I go to a Unitarian Universalist church, and for the next few weeks grades 1st - 5th are doing a class rotation learning about the seventh principle: being good stewards of the Earth.  I am teaching them how to make juice pouch notebooks.  We are also going over what it means to be good stewards of the Earth.

Here are the juice pouches that they could choose from.  I had 9 first graders today, and most of them were boys.  Thankfully I had 2 other adults in there to help me.  Some of the kids were surprised that the notebooks were theirs to keep.  There is no class next week, because it is the beginning of Spring break. I'll be in Pennsylvania with my kids visiting my parents.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Show Notes

I will be posting show notes to the 2 t.v. shows that I taped last night soon.  I'm really busy this weekend though.  Also if you want to see something on my t.v. show / you tube videos, please let me know.  I have a request right now for how to make a quilt and on having a bee keeper on.  I just taped a show on crafting with soda tabs (slightly different than my video that is on you tube right now), and on spinning recycled materials.  My last 2 shows will be uploaded soon: beyond organic farming and book making.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Solutions & Steps

I came outside yesterday to find the top cushions of my swing in different places around the yard.  That darn wind again.  For some reason the people who designed this swing put velcro things on the bottom cushions to hold them in place but they left the top cushions to blow away.

Well after several years of chasing these cushions, I decided to put an end to it.  Originally I thought about using thin scrap fabric for this, but then I saw the long, thin fused plastic strips left over from the woven fused bag project.  I took 3 of them and attached them to the cushions and around the metal back bar using 2 safety pins.  I like the fused plastic better than fabric, because it is more weather proof.  The wind is blowing and my cushions are still on my swing :)

Tomorrow night I am taping two new episodes of my local access t.v. show.  For one of them I am showing how to spin plarn and vhs tape.  Because I like to bring too much than not enough, I made the bottom of a round plarn bag.  This is in case I have time left after the spinning stuff.  I can talk about how to make a round plarn bag.  I stopped here, because I can show the next steps  on camera.

The other episode will be on crafting with soda tabs.  Some of you may have seen my you tube video on crafting with soda tabs (my most viewed video).  I wanted to add something new for the show.  I'm going to be crocheting flowers, hearts, and clovers with the soda tabs.  Hopefully the close up shots will be good and hopefully my hand won't move around to much.  I've been making the steps for the flowers this week.  This way through the "magic of television" the project goes faster.

Sorry that the right side is cut off.  Click on the video to watch it on you tube instead.