What’s New in Costumes

On my last trip to JoAnns, one of the ladies was shelving new fabrics. This is always exciting to see, but this day was particularly exciting to me because the new fabrics were for a line of “cosplay” costumes!!!! They are directly addressing the Anime and Comicon craze. I guess that some of these patterns and some of these fabrics were made available for the Halloween season last year. But I never saw them. This year they are expanding the line, and hitting the Comicon and convention circut dates too, not just Halloween.  Let’s back up for a second. I teach 10-13 year olds that have exposed me to a whole new vocabulary. So if you do not have a pack of 11 year olds in your life, and you have not heard of these things let me just offer some background.

Anime:an·i·me
ˈanəˌmā/
noun
a style of Japanese film and television animation, typically aimed at adults as well as children.

Cosplay: cos·play
ˈkäzˌplā,ˈkäsˌplā/
noun
noun: cosplay
1.
the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
verb
verb: cosplay; 3rd person present: cosplays; gerund or present participle: cosplaying; past tense: cosplayed; past participle: cosplayed
1.
engage in cosplay.

Kat and I joke sometimes about the different lines of fabric on the shelves at JoAnn’s. “what on EARTH would you make with “that” ?” (We live far apart, so these funny conversations are texts with pictures. We “virtual shop” together.) There are rows and rows of velvet burn-out and sheers, and sheers with petals or flowers attached… There is a line that would suit the whole “Frozen” empire. There are fabrics really only appropriate for bright bridesmaid dresses. And then there is the “performance” fabric. This is all the very glittery sparkly super-stretch in every direction. I really would only use this stuff in a costume. But recently my daughter has become much more serious about ice skating so I have looked at these fabrics in a much more focused light.
The new line of Cosplay fabrics is WAY beyond any of that. There is a line of sparkling fabric in a whole rainbow of colors that has the strength and texture of neoprene, but none of the volume, and it breathes. !!!! There are several selections that look like armor!!! With rivets!!!! You actually have to go touch this stuff to feel that it is not metal.

Here is a link to the company that is producing the fabric.
Cosplay Fabric
Here is a link to the line on JoAnn’s site
Fabrics at JoAnns.
And to boot, there is a line of patterns that have come out that incorporate these new fabrics.
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A Dr. Who dress!!!

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And this pattern, where the one dress is renaissance, but on the right, done in an emerald metallic animal skin-print. It is some sort of fantastical rendition of the dress. Wowsa.
And of course there are some selections that speak directly to the Anime heros
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This one is popular with my girls. “Sailor Moon”! (Oh that made me chuckle. I know I am showing my age here. The girls swooned when they saw this pattern. They all said “Sailor Moon!” in a dreamy whisper. I looked at the picture again. And I thought to myself “moon” I see, there on the stick, but “sailor” Uhm, that is a sincere stretch find the nautical reference. But okay. Thank you for teaching me her name.)
As a teacher I want to set them up to do projects that are past the scope of what they could do at home. As a Mom I want to send home things that parents can appreciate. And, as a Mom I am trying to find things that will not make the “growing-up-fast” train go any faster. I am going to use all my power to hold them at 11 and not jump to 19. There is such a rich sweetness at 11 and 12. Can we all just grab onto that when we see it?
This fabric and pattern line inspired me to offer a new class: Costume Making. We will see how many of my darling Stitch Lab veterans want to sign up. I’ll keep you posted.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at jcraftyenough AT gmail DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2016 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Rock Climbing Party and Gift Bags

We hosted a Rock Climbing Birthday Party that was a whole lot of fun. I made the invitations by hand in this post. If you are in Northern California, we went to Studio Climbing. It’s in an old movie theater and makes really great use of the space.
We tried to put together a fun party and fun favors without getting competitive about it. I wanted to show love, not make a show. I collected “rock theme” items for the gift bags. Here’s what we did:
Goodie bags
black bags
pop rocks
Clif bars
chocolate candy rocks
silly straw

The candy rocks I found at a high-end chocolate store.
Chocolate candy rocks
We got about 1.5 lbs. And then I put them into snack size zip lock bags.

When we got the the climbing gym, they all had to fill out extensive waivers and get name tags at the front. From there they congregated in the party area. They were briefed on a few safety rules and then fitted with their harness. They require/offer 1 instructor for every 6 kids minimum. We lucked out and had a better ratio than that plus GREAT instructors. At one point, one of the younger siblings was climbing away and he got stuck (mentally, not physically.) He was in no danger, he was harnessed in and safe, but he was really unhappy. The instructors were right there, and when he was edging towards panic instead of calm, one instructor just jumped up the wall LITERALLY like Spider Man and took the boy in his arms and kind of carried him down. Calmly. It was something to see how fast and how easily he climbed the wall. And of course, the little guy was FINE and went on to climb the rest of the party.

Success

Here are two climbers, all the way up!

Climber girl
Here is the happy birthday climber.

After a LONG climbing session, we went in for cake. We could have done a “rock theme” cake, but it is our tradition to let the birthday girl pick the cake. And she picked Rio 2 theme. (Sure! Why not?)
Cake time
This party had lots of things going for it. First, it did not feel like a “party factory”. (Now, don’t get me wrong, the places that host parties back to back do a good job too. But it does leave me a little bit breathless and over stimulated.) This place that we went to was a serious climbing gymand it felt like that. There were REAL climbers all around on harder sections of the walls. Next, we wore those kids out! I mean, I was tired just WATCHING them. I had NO problem feeding them cake afterwards because they had all run it off three times over. Thirdly, none of the families had ever been there before, so that was refreshing. Two kids told us they had such a good time they went back the next day together. Fourth, it was not free, but it was not as much as many of the other comparable party hosting sites. We were happy to host our friends, and lucky to have the means to do it, but it is also not a competition. I was super happy to have found a new, safe, fun, moderate priced party option.
All the way around – EXCELLENT.
Happy Birthday to my “baby”. (You can slow the clock down ANY time now!)

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at jcraftyenough AT gmail DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2016 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Project: Rock Climbing Party Invitations

My daughter spends a LOT of time thinking up what she would like to do for her birthday. Really a lot of time. Because her birthday is right after the holidays, we can’t afford to “wing it”. People need to get invitations before they break for the holiday. Even if I wanted to wait, reservations for kids’ parties cannot be readily attained on a 48 hour notice.  During our deliberations, one day she suggested a rock climbing party and I was THRILLED with that idea. I looked into climbing gyms in our area and waited 48 hours to see if that idea still held favor. I asked her later and the idea was still good! The rest is history!
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The invitations were made from scratch and they sure were fun!

Rock Climbing Party Invitations

Supplies:

  • boxed cards
  • gray card stock
  • small self stick foam sheets (or just a few stickers)
  • plain paper (for printed inserts)
  • black pen
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • rubber cement (or non wrinkling adhesive)

(My printer is house is not working. So I did not send these cards through the printer. If you want to have the look and feel of professional printed cards, now is the time to do the printing, before layering all the things I talk about in the next few steps.)

I started with a box of craft paper note cards. Then I cut a jagged piece that was about 1/3 of the size of the front of the card. I used both halves of the “jagged” cut, and turned them around so that they were “up hill” the right way on each invitation. Glue this “mountain” piece down.
Draw a line down the mountain. (this represents the ropes) Cut out tiny odd shapes of the different colors of foam sheet.
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Most of them should have some sort of “scoop” shape. Peel the paper off the back, and stick these down the mountain, spaced on either side of the line.
For the information part of this invitation, I typed out all the details and laid them out on 1/4 of a page. This was the perfect size for the cards I was using. I printed out these sheets, and carefully cut them into individual pieces. I glued these to the inside face of the card. Then I hand wrote “Amelia is turning 7” on the outside of the card.
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I’m going to come clean here and say that I am not “in control” of my printer. I know I could have figured out how to run these through the printer and have all the information appear neatly type written directly on the card, but I didn’t do that. I was intimidated by the level of experimentation that this would take. “How do I get this right-side-up, inside on the right-facing card flap?” See, right there, that is too much for me. And let’s say I was successful, I would then need to get “Amelia is turning seven!” to print out right-side-up on the front flap. (“boom” – the sound of my head exploding) Instead, I did a printed insert and a hand written outside.
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And in the end, I LOVE the look. It is clear that I made these invitations by hand, and with love. I got them done quickly with no waste. I was happy, and Amelia thought they were really neat. EXCELLENT!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at jcraftyenough AT gmail DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2016 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Teaching Kids to Sew

I have an AMAZING job. I teach sewing as an elective at the middle school. The kids in class are 10 – 13 years old. I have refined my teaching style and my delivery to match my audience. While my class is “formal”, and I do require focus, it is an elective, and all the kids are really excited to be in the class. Some of them are so excited that they can’t help themselves. And I find that charming. When I think that there is still so much love and energy “for good” flowing through their veins I can’t help but drink that in and meet it “in kind”.
For our lesson here today I want to pass along how to teach the mechanics of sewing. This is what I talk about the first few classes.
Stitch Lab
First and foremost I teach safety. They don’t need to fear the machine, but they need to understand it. If they KNOW how it could hurt them, and then they know how to avoid the pitfalls. I have written on the board the first day:
The needle is sharp.
Pins are sharp.
Scissors are VERY sharp, and have blades.
The seam ripper is pointy AND sharp in two different places. Beware.
Irons get HOT.
The stools twirl. (no joke, kids have gotten to twirling on the stools and fallen off. So far, it has (only) been funny, but there is potential for injury there too, so I do mention it.)
The machines moves quickly.

We talk through all of these dangers. Needles and pins do not need much explanation. “Consider yourself warned”. Scissors deserve a little more time. We have “fabric scissors” and “craft scissors”, and the twain shall never meet. : ) The fabric scissors are very sharp. I teach how to pass scissors to another person so there is no danger. And the fabric scissors in our class are kept in their own plastic blade covers.
Seam rippers are a necessary tool, unfortunately. There is no “shame” in seam ripping, only lessons. But I talk about it before they need to use it, so that there is no “shame” implied when they are sent to do the ripping. I explain this using my hand to demonstrate. “Act like my hand is the seam ripper.” (I point my finger up, and hold out my hand like an “L”.) “The point is sharp – you can SEE that. But the other sharp part is here…” (Point to the inside curve of between your thumb and your index finger) “This will cut the threads. And that is the GOOD news. The bad news is that will cut the fabric too. And that is going to be a project wrecker. The worse news is that if your run that into your flesh, it will cut you. So you will use this tool away from your friends, and with a quiet concentration and lazar focus. And NOT is a twirly chair”. They can tell from the look on my face that I am not kidding around.
We talk about the iron together. And, can I just say, for a lot of my girls, this is the first time they have ironed. (WOW. There are some houses that do not even have an iron in the house. ) I heat up the iron and I hold it in front of them. I assure them that the plastic does not get burning hot, only the face plate. Then I actually iron in front of them. And for many of them, this is the first time they have seen anyone ironing. Here is an important teaching moment for me. “I will teach you how to iron. Some people find it a very peaceful tranquil activity. And some people find it a chore. I will teach you how to do it, and I will require you to iron the seams of some of your projects. And then, you will go on, and grow up and be amazing and successful in your own right, and then you will CHOOSE whether you find ironing peaceful, and you do it yourself, or you find it a chore, and you will pay someone else to iron for you. Either way, I will salute your choice. ” I don’t feel anyone is “above ironing” or “beneath ironing”, its just a choice.

When it is time for them to sit down and SEW I teach them how to thread the machine and the bobbin. There are numbers on our machines at different points so they can just follow the numbers. And they can ALWAYS ask for help. When it came time to sew I figured out that many of them did not know how to use the pedal. On the tip of my tongue were the words “Honey, it’s just like DRIVING!” and then, whoa, an 11 year old has never driven a car. Their driving experience is limited to a bumper car ride or the Autotopia at Disneyland! They. Have. Never. Driven. A. Car. (oh bless their little hearts. There is one area of “grown up” technology that has not leeched it’s way down to our kiddies yet!) After some rocky staccato lurky-jerky sewing, I bent down and figured out that they literally do not know how to use a pedal. How would they know, they have never climbed into the front seat and watched anyone’s feet! I take the pedal off the machine, and (I am not kidding here) I sit on a chair on a table and show them how to press on a pedal. I was seeing all kinds of tip-toe action. I show them how to keep their heel ON THE FLOOR, and only push their toe down. I talk about using their foot as a lever. And about how the pedal is actually manual, it is not an ipad or touch screen. When they start sewing, we work on scrap paper first. I have them sew along the edge of the paper. Then I offer a cut piece of paper with a gentle curve, and have them maintain a consistent seam allowance with that. Once they have shown me some good results on paper, we add thread and fabric to the equation, and start on a real project.

I feel like this is enough information for them to handle, and gets them to the place where they can sew a basic project.
Happy sewing people. May all your days be filled with the unbridled enthusiasm of a kid in an elective.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at jcraftyenough AT gmail DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2015 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Perspective in Creation

I am working on some fairy wings for Halloween. I would love to make a sturdy, large, light, etherial pair of wings. I have these exact specs in my mind’s eye. “They have to look exactly THIS way,” says my inner editorial voice.
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(This picture is days earlier when I was sketching the wing outline. She helped.)

I had a sketch on some newsprint on the floor and all the supplies collected are around me. The truth is that I was sitting with very little happening. “How am I going to make this WORK?” My daughter came into the room, looked at the scene and said, “OOOOoooo! Can I help?!” The editorial creative director in my head screamed possessively and was silenced immediately by the Mother-voice, “Yes, of course you can Love.” Then she asked, “What are you doing?” (Shouldn’t the questions have been in the other order? “What are you doing?” and THEN, “Can I help?” after she has decided that it looks fun enough to join? )

She picked up a floral wire and said, “Can I try?” Once again, there was a whole dialogue in my head, but “Sure. Careful near your eyes with the wire.” came cheerfully out of my mouth.  She bent the wire around her hand and adjusted it. Then she set the wire twirl into the wing template that was sketched. She looked at her contribution and said, “There!” “Like that Mom?” I looked at it, looked up at her and broke into a grin. “That is fantastic!” And it was. The executive Creative Director in my head was silenced. The Kid had picked up some wire and just made something without the fight. She didn’t bring a whole cast of characters in her head to the project. Her inner critic is there, but it has so little strength. How liberating! How beautiful! Lesson: Shut the critic up and just try your project. Try to set the picture in your mind’s eye to one side, and just look at the supplies you have chosen and make something. Craft like you are 6!!!!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at jcraftyenough AT gmail DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2015 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Rosie Riveter Costume

Looking for a last minute costume? I have got it for you! Rosie Riveter. I. It is not made out of cheap satin. It can be as figure flattering as you want it to be.
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The pieces you will need to pull together:

  • utility style jump suit
  • spotted bandana
  • period correct hair
  • make-up

For the jumpsuit, I got one from the local independent auto parts store, Winchester Auto Parts. They have a rack in the front of used utility suits.  The best part was that they are asking $15.00 for them! I had plans to pull apart the suit at the waist and tailor it, but in the end, I decided against it. I took a belt and just hiked it all up and bloused it at the waist.
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This ended up being a great decision because my friend borrowed the suit for a party and she did the same thing!
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I looked up the original women that inspired the poster and they are wearing some HUGE suits, as if they took their husband’s coveralls and just went to work. Their shoes are kind of old style oxford shoes, lace-up with a slight heal even. Bottom line, wear what ever shoes you want!
For the banana, of course you could use the traditional red paisley. But the iconic picture features a red spotted scarf, so I set out to make one. This was the only thing that required any “work”. I bought a square of red spotted fabric and hemmed all the sides with a small rolled hem.
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To take the look to the next level, the hair and make-up need to be great. For the hair I watched quite a few You Tube tutorials. They were very helpful to me, but to add a little context, I have naturally curly hair and on an average day I spend about 30 – 60 seconds “fixing” my hair. So, I found the tutorials very helpful. I giggled when they said “This one is really fast! you can be ready to go in 10 minutes!”

I looked at loads of pictures and applied make-up in the way that I saw. I feel like it was such a change for me that it was super dramatic and pretty successful. (on an average day I do not have on red lipstick and dramatic eye liner.)
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This was a fun day. I highly recommend this costume for ease and comfort. Happy Halloween.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at jcraftyenough AT gmail DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2014 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Project: Wonder Woman Cape (Swim Edition)

I have made a Wonder Woman costume before, but this time I wanted to make a cape out of terry. That way, the cape would be big and dramatic, sure, but also, it would be warm and practical. Even the tie at the neck would hold the cape/towel on the wet creature walking back from the pool.
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This was actually relatively easy, so I will share the math with you and you will be all set to make your own!

Wonder Woman Cape (Swim Edition)

Supplies:

  • 1/2 yard red terry*
  • 1/2 yard white terry*
  • 1 yard blue terry*
  • star patches
  • E6000 glue (for stars)
  • ribbon (for ties)
  • red double-fold bias tape (for the neck)
  • thread

First, cut long triangles out of the red and the white fabric. To do this, fold the fabric from one corner across to the other corner the long way, so that you have two long triangles. Then cut along the fold. (You will do this twice, once for the red fabric and then for the white fabric. You will have 4 long scalene triangles). One end will be the point and the short side of the triangle will be the width of the fabric. My fabric was a generous 1/2 yard, so I started at the point and had two long sides of the triangle and the short side was 20″. If you had an exact 1/2 yard, it would have a short side of 18″.

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I used a serger. But this project does not require one. You could easily use a standard machine and the project would be great.

Next, sew the triangles together, you want the point all at one end . One red and one white, then repeat. The nature of the cut will mean that you have kind of a saw tooth edge on one side. You will even that out. Next, sew the blue piece to the side of the stripes.
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Cut the neck and bottom:
Cut a round neck opening. Just fold the fabric into a pie piece shape and cut about 4″ for the “hole”.

With the fabric still folded up like a pie piece, trim the bottom edge so that the fabric is curved all the way around. (Here you are getting rid of the triangle corner of blue, and the “sawtooth” edges of the red and white.)

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Hemming the blue side.

Finishing:
Hem the long sides. Carefully hem the bottom. This part is a tiny bit fiddlie because you want to hem the sections using the appropriate thread for the colors of terry. So you will be hemming two sections in white, change thread, two sections in red, change thread, and one big section in blue.

I chose to trim the neck hold with red bias tape.
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And then sew the lovely ribbons to the sides of the neck.

My last step was to add the stars. I thought about sewing them, but if you are sewing white stars onto dark blue fabric there are going to be tricky issues with trying to keep the thread invisible on both sides. So I chose to glue them down. I used e-6000 glue and a toothpick. Take care to get a tiny bit of glue onto each of the points of the star. I laid them all out on a flat surface, and then picked up one at a time, applied the glue, and placed them back down.
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In the end, this is what we have:
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Technical Note: This cape was heavier than I had anticipated. The terry I used is quite thin, so I thought we were going to be okay, but when the cape was on the model and tied with the bow around her neck it was uncomfortably heavy. She liked the drama of it and the idea of it, but wearing it on the journey from the pool (wet) back to the hotel room was not in the cards. I will make two modifications to help address this issue. First, I will add some shoulder straps , like loops of elastic that will ride right at the arm pit and help hold the weight. Next, I will add some loops of elastic futher down the long edges for her wrists. Stay tuned for those mods. If you were making it for an older/heavier/taller kid, I think you would be fine. Also, if you do not want quite the “drama” that we achieved, just cut it shorter. That will take the weight right off.

* A color note. The traditional Linda Carter Wonder Woman cape is, in fact, not this color pattern. Her cape is Blue-White-Blue-White with 1/2 solid red. And the stars are sprinkled in a pattern that is heavy at the neck and lessor towards the floor. This cape draws it’s color scheme more directly from the flag, with red and white panels and then a blue background and white stars. I feel like it is still a great representation of the cape and you can plainly see that a super hero is wearing it. However, if you are a purist, or making this cape for Comicon, I would alter the fabric requirements accordingly.

Happy summer swimming!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at jcraftyenough AT gmail DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2015 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Sewing With Kids

I have a job teaching sewing as an elective at the Middle School. I am working with two classes of bright, enthusiastic 9-12 year old girls. Their experience level ranges from “NEVER sewn before” to “gone to stitch camp last summer”. I learned a LOT in this first year and I am happy to share some of what I learned.

Do’s and Don’ts
Do not start working with knits. Feeding two stretch fabrics under the needle at once is a lot to manage.  Stick to woven fabric.

Do not start with a garment that needs to fit a body (if possible). Pick a pouch, or a sack, or a pillow case first, so that small differences in seam allowances and anomalies will be absorbed gracefully.

Do not lay projects out on loop carpet (such as industrial school carpet.) The pins will stick into the carpet and stick the pieces down down to the floor. What happens then is when they cut, the tip of the new fabric scissors will catch in the carpet. Find a place with lots of clean linoleum floor or lots of bright big clean tables and do your cutting and pinning there.

Do not attempt to have the kids share patterns. Do what you can to get each student their own pattern to work with.

Do some practice sewing before you start on the fabric. There are books with practice sheets that have you sew on the line, but that does not help them practice keeping the seam allowance straight. Take the thread out of the needle and use a sheet of paper (even scrap) and sew 5/8 of an inch away from the edge of the paper.

Most of all, do have fun. My goal is to create new converts!
Happy Sewing!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at jcraftyenough AT gmail DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2015 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Painting Pottery

We walked by the paint your own pottery shop one day and ended up inside. It was a magical spontaneous afternoon activity. My girl stuck with it for a REALLY long time, so that made the cost of “studio time” worth the money.
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I wanted to break it down a little bit, so that you have all the tricks.

I went with an artistic five-year old. She was eager and ready, in fact, it was her suggestion. I found out later that they had brought a mobile set up to the school! So, when she saw the storefront, she knew exactly what was going on.
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You could bring a younger kid to work with you, they just might not last as long and the piece would be different.

Here is a basic run-down. First, you will choose what you would like to work on. They have everything from soup to nuts here. There are funny things, piggy banks, traditional mugs, goofy mugs, and even “fantasy” figures. They have every kind of plate, platter, pot, pitcher, and bowl imaginable from the very plain straight forward to the holiday ornate. You will pay by-the-piece and the charges will run anywhere from $2.50 – $48.00 depending on the size of the piece.

There is also a studio fee. For adults it was $9.75 and for kids $7.00. This is an all-day pass, so you don’t have to rush.
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I found the selection to be VAST and maybe a little bit overwhelming. If you plan to go, I would take a moment and organize your thoughts around what you want to accomplish. With little kids, are you just there to have a good time and sit with each other? Or do you need to create a certain amount of mugs in a set amount of time. You need to weigh the “process” vs. the “product” and hopefully you will enjoy both!
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My daughter is blissfully uninhibited. I have “an idea” that things will be neat and artistic and have a flair. Have a plan in your head about what you are shooting for – a chevron, or a stencil, or a reverse dot pattern… Pinterest is LOADED with ideas. The neatest thing that I saw with younger artists were pieces that featured their hand prints of foot prints. Here is Pottery We Love on Pinterest. Lots of good ideas!

You could go do pieces for Christmas/Chanukah, Valentines, birthdays, or what ever occasion you want. I would just caution you to go far enough ahead of time. Keep in mind that you make your piece, and then leave them to be fired. You come back several days later to pick them up.

Have you been to one of these places? Show us your creations!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at jcraftyenough AT gmail DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.© 2005 – 2015 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Trouble with Crayons

For Valentines day I wanted to make little crayon molds with Jambi for her classmates. I thought it would be a fun craft project to do together. This was also going to be a great recycling victory and I was so pleased about that.

Here is how it started. Every restaurant that ever had a kid darken their doorway has adopted a practice of giving out a kids menu and a pack of four crayons. I would watch at our dinners how many crayons got left on the tables and then were pitched when the table was bussed. The waste was mind blowing (to me anyway). So, I spoke with the manager and asked if they could collect the crayons for me, promising I would be back before the pile got out of hand. Sure enough, he agreed and I got a bag of crayons, and then another, and then another. I was rubbing my hands together like a starving woman in front of a Thanksgiving dinner.  I rescued all these crayons! Wow! The possibilities were ENDLESS! I could make those crayons-dripping-down-canvas pictures.  Or melt them into Lego molds. Or make them into hearts for a little class party. … Oh my, so many choices!

I started WAY out ahead of time, so this was not a “night before” panic situation. The first step was to get the paper off the crayons. We peeled them with our fingernails. That works, but it is not a solution for 200+ crayons.

So I had the brilliant idea to soak them.
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Then I tried to score the paper and get them off that way.
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The results were not better than doing them by hand. Argh. It was not faster and it was not cleaner. It was just a frustrating soggy mess. The cheap crayons had TONS of glue and that was going to stick wet or dry.
Here are some “good” ones.
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And it took a LONG time for them to get like that.
Sigh.
There were a precious few Crayola crayons in the bunch and look how clean they are.
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They soak well. The paper peels RIGHT off. There is not an excess of glue. The colors are pure and bright. Crayolas all the way!!! But here, I was working with recycled goodness. The point was not to go buy Crayolas. It was more of a challenge-type of project. “How can I use these crayons I have?”

I took the few peeled crayons, broke them up, put them in a mold and into the microwave. Now, I am not sure what compound these crayons are made of, but it is not wax. It might be recycled Barbie dolls. Or old milk cartons. These crayons DO NOT MELT. Two minutes, three minutes, four, five six, didn’t do it. Seven minutes in the microwave on HIGH, and these suckers were not even sweating. Enough.

I tried another project where I heated a baking sheet as hot as I dared to, turned it over on hot pads on the counter, and spread butcher paper over it. Then I gave Jambi a crayon to do a “melting” picture. (It was a VERY supervised project, and I only have one kid, and I could almost touch the cookie sheet without burning myself. Fear not for our safety. But if you have younger kids or lots of kids or kids who do not always remember instructions, I would caution you on this encaustic endeavor.) Guess what happened. Not much, that’s what. It was pretty much the same as regular crayon on paper. Not worth one minute of the hassle.

At this point here, I had tried wet, dry, wet heat, dry heat… I was done. Put a fork in it. I took the rest of the crayons out of the water and dried them on a kitchen towel. Then I bagged them all up, and I took them into the kindergarten class. I let our beloved kindergarten teacher know the provenance of these crayons. She smiled a huge smile at my crafty fails and accepted them for coloring.

The moral of this tale: all crayons are not created equal.

 

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