My little craft book is FREE today!
If you’re looking for green ideas this Earth Day, look no further. I’m making my Kindle craft book Planet Pouch: Simple Juice Pouch Bags Anyone Can Make FREE through Monday, April 22. So now’s the perfect time to grab this book and start turning those leftover juice pouches into something stylish!
No Kindle? No problem. You can read this book using the free Kindle Cloud Reader on any PC (or Mac). And if you like the book, please rate and review it on Amazon and Goodreads–I’ll be eternally grateful, and it’ll help others who like to make things find the book.
Happy Earth Day!
Posted in Crafts, E-Books, Freebies
Tagged book, caprisun, crafts, creativity, deals, discounts, e-book, families, free, juice pouches, kids, patterns
Saoirse Friendship Bracelet Design
Wear your own luck o’ the Irish this year: try your hand at friendship bracelet making with my FREE (through 3/17/13) pattern. Pronounced ‘seer-sha,’ this design was inspired by twisty Celtic cables in knitting. Exclusively available (for now) on Craftsy, Saoirse is a straightforward two-color design, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any day! What are ye waitin’ for? Go grab your own today, before the free promotion is over!
Posted in Crafts, Freebies
Tagged celtic, crafts, creativity, deals, free, friendship bracelet, jewelry, kids, knotwork, pattern, patterns, pdf pattern
I’ve been obsessed with friendship bracelet patterns lately, and my latest creation is Liriel, a design inspired by Celtic twists and knots. This one is available on Craftsy, Etsy and Scribd just in time for making to wear on St. Patrick’s Day. I hope you like it–let me know what you think. Erin go bragh!
Posted in Crafts
Tagged celtic, crafts, creativity, friendship bracelet, how-to, instructions, jewelry, pattern, patterns, pdf pattern, st patrick's day
I got a wonderful New Year’s surprise in my email box the other day: Emily (one of my customers) finished work on my Plunder friendship bracelet pattern and shared a triumphant photo of her Finished Object! Didn’t it turn out great? I love the colors she picked, and the knots used for the top loop and bottom ties. Nicely done!
A huge thank-you to Emily for sending along this photo. I love seeing how other people improve on my designs.
This pattern is available on both the Etsy website and at Craftsy. If you make it, send along a photo of your Finished Object too–I’d love to see how yours turns out!
I come from a creative family. We all make stuff. Some of it useful, and some of it just plain fun. Today I want to showcase the work of my cousin Nathan. We grew up together playing with Legos, Play-Doh, Shrinky-Dinks and origami. Apparently these days Nate has a little too much free time, because he started making funky hats by twisting pipe cleaners around each other while watching episodes of Glee and Project Runway.
After fine-tuning his construction methods because first hats were a bit too heavy, he’s come up with a collection of distinct hat styles for people to choose from. That’s right: my cousin Nate will custom-make a hat for you, too!
Of course, because I’m family, everyone in my house got their own custom-made hat. Here’s how we look in our Peacee Hats:
Happy in our funky, custom-made Peacee Hats!
Run on over to Nate’s website and pick out yer own!
A project I’ve been seeing around the net lately is: making new crayons from all your broken ones by melting them into a silicon baking mold. Of course, I had to give it a try. Basically, you:
Here’s what ours looked like before we placed the mold in the oven.
- Gather all your old broken crayons, and break them into smaller pieces if needed
- Place them (in any combination you wish) into a silicon mold (the ones made for baking, not the ice cube trays)
- Bake at low temperature (less than 300° F) until the crayons are melted
- Let the mold cool completely before attempting to remove new, funky-shaped crayons
- Color, and enjoy!
Here’s how some of ours turned out. They look like little Reese’s cups, in wild colors!
My kids absolutely loved this project. There’s something irresistible about combining colors and wondering with high anticipation how they’ll turn out. And I’m crazy about any fun activity that takes something basically useless (broken crayons) and turns them into something cool.
I intend to do some more experimentation to find out if I get better results with lower temperatures and less time in the oven. I probably left ours in a little too long, since the intense colors sank to the bottom. But we were happy with the results anyhow.
I like Legos—always have. Lately I enjoy getting all my minifigs out, equipping them with weapons and lining them up as if getting them ready for battle (yep, those are mine in the photo above).
But in addition to the incredible fun a person can have with the physical Legos, I notice an increasing number of Lego-themed apps for the iPhone and iPad. I’ll discuss a few of these, and if you know more about some of the others (a quick search in the Apple App Store brought up nearly two hundred of ‘em), let me know in the comments.
There are at least two dozen official Lego apps, but the only one of these I’ve tried is Lego Creationary. My kids love this fast-paced game. You start by rolling the dice (drag it to the edge of the screen and ‘flick it’ back across) and what you roll becomes the category (nature, objects, buildings, vehicles, random and double-point random). Next (to play), the game starts building something with Lego bricks and you must choose one of four possible answers (through cartoon drawings) to guess what it is before the object is built. You’ll get more points if you can guess correctly early. My kids especially enjoyed this when we first got the iPad (a year ago) because neither one of them was reading well at the time, so this was a game we could all play together. Plus, it’s free!
Another one I downloaded recently is Lego Instruct. This is a fairly basic app that shows you step-by-step how to build stuff out of your existing bricks. A few instructions are included with the download of the app, and you can get more just by choosing “add more items…” from the main menu. Simple and clean illustrations and steps make it easy to put those bricks to good use. Pretty cool! The developer is Artel Plus, and this app is also free (but displays ads along the bottom edge of the screen). There’s also an Android version which I’ve downloaded, but haven’t spent much time with yet.
BrickPad is similar to Lego Instruct, but has a couple of really nifty features that set it apart. Not only does it include instructions for building new models with your old Legos, but you can rotate a model (and therefore view it from all angles) just by dragging your finger over one of them. Very cool! Also free in the App Store.
My daughter just walked by, saw what I was doing and asked if I’d download the Lego Ninjago apps for her to play with. I’ll let you know how she likes those too. Did I miss any of your favorite Lego apps? Let me know in the comments. Happy building!
Posted in Apps I Like
Tagged activities for kids, apps, apps for kids, creativity, free, free play, games, iPad, kids, lego, play
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.
Such is the case with Doodlecast, a new offering from Tickle Tap Apps. The idea behind this is simple indeed, but the app opens the door wide open to a world of kids’ creativity.
Doodlecast is nothing more than a tool which allows kids to capture the process of creating a drawing–in video form, with their own narration. Kids can choose from several ideas to get the creative juices flowing, or they can start with (my favorite) a blank canvas. There are several colors to draw with, and once a background/idea is selected, the video recording process automatically begins. Simply speak while drawing to record a voiceover for your video, if desired. Press ‘Done’ when finished…playback the video and press Save, and voila! Your video is ready to be shared on your device. Use the Photos app (included with every iOS device) to view, email, or upload to YouTube.
Watch the above video to see how my 6 year-old daughter used Doodlecast to create a short clip about playing in the park. Note: I found this in the camera roll on my iPad a few days after my daughter created it, which is a testament to how easy the app is to use. She did it all on her own with no help or prompting from me. Pretty neat, eh?
Here’s the official app trailer for Doodlecast. This is a fun toy that encourages free expression, and is a great deal in the iTunes App Store at $1.99.
(Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this app for review purposes.)
Me at the Fins and Feathers Exhibit at the NC Museum of Art
My mom turned 70 on January 22, and she decided she wanted to celebrate by visiting the North Carolina Museum of Art (specifically the Norman Rockwell exhibit). I was thrilled to discover that in addition to the fabulous Rockwell works, the museum is playing host to the work of some of my very favorite picture book artists too, on loan from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. I got to see drawings from Tedd Arnold, Arnold Lobel, Leo Lionni and several others (and if you’ve visited my favorite books page, you know I think these guys are wonderful!). I can promise you this was truly a thrill–and I recommend it to anyone who loves children’s picture books. The exhibit is up through Sunday, January 30–if you’re near Raleigh, go check it out! It’s FREE–no ticket required!
Posted in Freebies, Illustration, Picture Books
Tagged arnold lobel, books, creativity, education, eric carle, families, free, kids, leo lionni, picture books, tedd arnold
I’m part of the Moms With Apps development group, which is a great resource for sharing ideas with other folks committed to creating family-friendly interactive apps. This week there is a very insightful post on the site by Esa Helttula of iDevBooks about the importance of allowing unstructured free play time for kids.
Also mentioned in the article is a reference to a Newsweek piece from a few months ago about the decline of creative thinking in America.
The article discusses real problems that need real solutions. However, about a year ago (at age 4) my oldest daughter completed an interesting self-portrait and I asked her to explain what she’d created. She replied, “It’s a picture of me flying out of a slingshot, Mama!”
Somehow I sleep a little easier when I know that kind of thinking goes on in my house.