I’m not a big gamer (video or otherwise), but my son enjoys playing a variety of board and card games with his friends. One of his favorites is Settlers of Catan (or just Catan now, apparently). So my interest was piqued when I saw this crochet Catan hexagon bag by Becky Simmons.
She developed a quick hexagon motif that she stitched up in Catan colors and assembled 19 into a bag that she uses as a project bag. I like it because it’s a subtle geeky reference not everyone would recognize.
I was hanging out with my best friend and her family, including two very rambunctious boys, and we were at a big toy store when my friend found this really fun looking kit for making string dolls. But the kit was $20, and we both kinda cringed at the price and put the kit back on the shelf.
Unlike a lot of tutorials I saw, she uses pipe cleaners and a wooden bead for the string dolls’ bodies. Other tutorials used heavier gauge wire and bits of styrofoam (or nothing at all for the base of the head). Natalie also uses regular old white glue to secure the string onto the base form, whereas other tutorials use super glue (or other heavier duty adhesives). I haven’t tried making one yet, but I certainly plan to. It seems to me it would be best to experiment with whatever materials you have on hand and see what works best for you when creating your new little string doll best friend! I would guess that different materials would have different staying powers and durability.
Have you ever made one of these cute little guys? What materials did you use?! How did yours turn out!? Be sure to share in the comments below!
I actually came across Wolfdreamer‘s crochet patterns a few years ago, and I think they’re fantastic. This gorgeous Cyndaquil just popped up on my pinterest and I had to share it, as well as her other patterns, with you all. She not only has dozens of free Pokémon crochet patterns, she also has patterns for Sonic the Hedgehog, MarioBros, and lots of other wonderful characters to crochet. Thank you, Wolfdreamer, you’re awesome!
A Monster to Love is this great online shop where, for every cute little monster doll you buy, Sam, Ben, and their dad Ray, donate a monster doll to a kid in need. They partner up with children’s hospitals and even the World Relief Refugee program out of Atlanta.
I ran across their awesome work about a year ago on Craftsy, including a pattern to make your own monsters to donate to local kids in need, or send off to Ray and his boys in Colorado so they can donate the cuddly little monsters to kids in need.
I try to organize a Monster Making Party at least once or twice a year–they’re fun, and pretty easy to do. Here’s how:
1. I buy a couple yards of fun colored fleece fabric when it’s on sale (usually in the summer). You can get quite a lot of monsters out of a yard of fleece, or even half a yard. Just be sure to shop when it’s on sale! Along with fabric, I’ll pick up a box of stuffing when it’s on sale too (or with a coupon). One box can last a long while and stuff a lot of monsters (probably around 30). I’ll also purchase Safety Eyes for the dolls, which can be attached before sewing, and don’t require any sewing knowledge to install. I purchased my Safety Eyes here, but there are tons of vendors and craft stores out there that sell them. The 18mm sized ones are what I used, and I liked to mix and match colors too. 15 pairs of eyes cost about $15. You can also use buttons for the eyes, but make sure they are SEWN on really well. If the eyes are not sewn on securely, Ray and his boys can’t use them. Do not glue on eyes. Ray and his boys can’t use the monster dolls if the eyes have only been glued on (hello choking hazards!).
All in all, I spent about $40 on supplies for making the monsters, but I did it over the course of a couple of months.
2. I set up a FB event and ask folks to bring their own sewing machines if they’ve got them, but I also tell folks that there’s plenty of other ways to help too: attaching eyes, stuffing, cuddle testing, and hand stitching are great ways to get even the most novice of crafters involved in a Monster Making Party. Along with the fabric, stuffing, and safety eyes, I also bring along thread, scissors, and hand sewing needles for people to use. If you’re worried about materials cost, you can always ask people to pitch in a couple bucks to help out.
3. I cut out at least some monsters before the party so there are dolls ready to be sewn. I also set up stations for people to work at installing eyes, stuffing the monsters, and hand sewing the monsters closed after stuffing, and even cutting out more monsters if necessary.
4. We have music playing, and I ask folks to help out with some food (like chips and dip, cupcakes, and frosty beverages). And I invite folks to come when they can and stay as long as they’d like to. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening.
5. I’ve found three hours to be a great length of time for a Monster Making Party. You can get a lot done, have time to chat, and still steal a cupcake too. Once the party’s over, you’ll want to box up your magnificent creations and mail them off to A Monster to Love! Their address is on the last page of the PDF.
If you have your own Monster Making Party, be sure to take pictures and share!!!
More Links of Interest
A Monster to Love: check out this great online shop and see where they’ll be selling their cute little monster dolls next!
Check out the story about A Monster to Love on Craftsy
My grade school days are so far behind me, I remember very little about any sort of science experiments. I vaguely recall something about adding food coloring to water to turn white carnations different colors. BOR-ING. If I had Andrew Gatt for a teacher, I think I would have some pretty epic science memories.
As the lower school science specialist as a school in Raleigh, North Carolina, Andrew started building paper roller coasters in the late 90s as an activity in his 5th grade classroom. He continued refining his designs over the years, and started making presentations of his designs at teacher conventions and eventually started selling the templates and directions. These days, he teaches science to 7th and 8th graders and uses the templates with his 7th graders each fall. The templates are available on his website.
Homeschoolers and science aficionados rejoice! Andrew offers three lesson plans to use with the paper roller coasters, which are available for free download on his website, PaperRollerCoasters.com. “The lesson plans show how paper roller coasters can be used to teach about speed, acceleration, potential energy, and kinetic energy,” says Andrew. “It’s also a great structural engineering lesson in which students have to build a sturdy structure that will hold up the tracks.”