Posted in kids activities

Egg Cartons A-Go-Go

Whether or not you celebrate Easter, there are so many fun egg dying and egg art projects out there for young kids, I hope you partook of some artsy craftsy eggs-perimentation (ha! i’m so clever) anyway. We think of all projects this time of year as celebrations of Spring and abundance.

We eat eggs all year. My son is the world’s biggest fan of quiche (I make mine with potatoes in it, which really increases its kid-friendliness), and I am a fan of frugality, and eggs are a super cost-effective source of protein.

I am not sure if it is my crafty DNA, or my previous career as a teacher, but something in me won’t let me throw away an egg carton, and I know I’m not alone. Luckily, with small children around, I finally have good reason. They come in so handy.

My youngest was on spring break from preschool last week, and in between frequent viewings of Moana, I created a lot of art and craft and experimentation opportunities for him. I was running out of patience and ideas after a few days, but in a surge of desperation-fueled inspiration, I handed him an 18-egg cardboard carton and told him to go check the backyard for rocks that might fit. You should have seen his little face light up! Who knew? His favorite assignment of the week by far.

After he filled his carton, he and his sister had some rock painting time. This was a free-painting process art kind of project, but I am already looking forward to making more directed paintings, like pet rocks or rock monsters.

So here are a few more ideas:

    1. Collections: If you also have a backyard or are near a park, collect rocks, shells, flowers, leaves, etc. If you are inside, collect small toys, crayons, legos. Littler kids love filling each cup and are reinforcing one to one correspondence.
    2. Paint Pallet: Fill each cup with paint and use the top to hold your brushes. If you have styrofoam containers (it happens), you can even put your water in one, for rinsing brushes.
    3. Sorting: Are your kids into pony beads or Perler beads? Sort those babies by color. Legos? size and shape. Do you have a button collection? If you do, it is surely not as intense as mine, but there are countless sorting opportunities in there. Sometimes when I’m stressed, a good button sorting session can really take the edge off. buttons
    4. Snacks! a couple grapes in here, a couple goldfish there. I think you can fill in the rest.
    5. Planters: This works best with the smaller 6 or 12 count cartons, in my experience. 18 is a lot of dirt and seeds.
    6. This pirate ship! This activity is so great because making the sails could be an entirely separate art experience. Stickered, watercolored, stamped, crayon resisted, or even art they’ve already created and you don’t know what to do with it. Cut it up and use it as the sails.
    7. Animals: This is kind of the Old Reliable of egg carton crafts. Clams, penguins, frogs, chicks, just use paint and googly eyes as your basic prompts, and let those kids follow their own drumbeats. Maybe have some pipe cleaners or feathers handy, too.

  1. Someday when the children are both in school, I am going to crack open an egg carton for myself and do one of those gorgeous egg carton flower wreaths. I’ll let you know if those are legit, or merely a Pinterest urban legend.

Have fun.

Posted in Sewing Projects

Something Different: an adorable apron 

All of my pieces are cut for the next round of awesome Moonrise Kingdom squares for my Wes Anderson Palettes movie quilt. Totally pumped to bust those puppies out, but a request sidetracked me today. 

Way back when I got married, a friend with amazing taste got me a fancy apron from Anthropologie, the kind with ribbon-lined pockets and rick-rack, etc. For all the baking sessions that I would have as a married woman (it sounds like I am joking, but I actually bake a ton. Once you’re legally joined to a person, you do what you can to cushion the blow of all your hidden flaws and caveats. I ply my spouse with lots of baked goods.) 

Anyway, my nearly-4-year-old saw me wearing it this morning (bacon grease), and wanted one. What kind of monster turns down a request from that punim?! Not this one. 

   She approved these fat quarter prints from the Petite Fleur collection. They are organic certified cotton. That is honestly less important to me than how cute they are, but while I sewed, I thought of how food-safe and earth-friendly this would be. 
I used the Casey Apron pattern from Little One Yard Wonders, a book I adore, and modified it a bit to fit fat quarters instead of yards. I also decided to make it completely reversible by adding pockets to both sides, and sewing the Velcro tabs on prior to making the straps, so the back of the straps would be nice and smooth, which I am honestly surprised they didn’t do in the original pattern. They usually think of every possible finishing touch. No matter. It made me feel like I made a contribution to the original, so it worked out. 

   Of course, like every clothing project ever, it took about twice as long as I expected. But the end results are sure to please my baking protege. 



Posted in Books

Emphatic recommendation: Rules of Summer

rules of summerIf you have never read this book…you are probably in the majority, actually. It was just published last year, and it is a children’s book. Rules of Summer. I think most people’s children’s lit knowledge covers about 20 books, and tends to stagnate as we recall books that were already well-known and well-loved when we were young, which (let’s be honest) was so so very long ago.

Harold and the Purple Crayon aside, most of these classics could be retired with no harm done to the Collective Bedtime Routine. I wish I had never introduced Goodnight, Moon into our household.

This book is a giant leap forward. Honestly, it has a bit of a Harold and the Purple Crayon essence to it; it is vaguely Crockett-Johnsonian. The illustrations are absolutely incredible, and inspire great imagination in kids and adults alike. I almost thought it was too next-level for my three and a half year old. I was worried that some of the dream-scape imagery would even frighten her. But she totally got into it. Each page has one 4-5 word rule on it. And yet, each page tells a bizarre story that changes every time you read it. Not a lot of children’s books could (or should) be described as ‘mind-blowing,’ but I think this one qualifies. Rules of Summer, by Shaun Tan. If there were a separate Goodreads for picture books, I’d give it 5 stars.