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Vickie Howell: December 2009 Archives


Kids Home. Need Project?

Posted by Vickie Howell on December 27, 2009 at 8:31 PM in General Crafts
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Happy post, Chrikwayuleukkah!  Looking for a little something to keep your kids busy during the remaining days of their winter vacation?  I thought so.  That's why I'm jumping on for a quick "hello" in between regular articles, to share I project I used to occupy my own boys during a vacation past.

I don't know about you but when it comes to kid clothes shopping, I get many the request for one character shirt or another (Star Wars, Sponge Bob, Halo, etc.).  Recently however, I suggested that perhaps, my sons might want to draw their own versions of one of their favorites. This actually got them really excited--praise the crafty Gods! With a little persuasion and a pack of pens my boys created their shirts, their way: featuring Super Mario Bros. Ba-bomb guys. It was a good compromise if you ask me!


Plain, light-colored t-shirt
Tulip Fabric Markers
Cardboard (Recycled box pieces, work great!)
Clothespins and/or Masking Tape

1. Have your child sketch out their idea on a piece of scrap paper (optional).

2. Stretch t-shirt out over cardboard; secure with tape or clothespins.


3. Hand your little artist a pack of Fabric Markers and let him work his drawing magic, directly on the shirt.

With a little bit of time and almost no clean-up, your creative child has a wearable work of art that fits whatever his current, character fancy!


This project article was originally written for

Handmade Holidays for Kids

Posted by Vickie Howell on December 15, 2009 at 8:59 AM in ChristmasEco-Conscious CraftsGeneral CraftsGreat Gifts!
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I don't know about you, but as a parent I'm constantly trying to find that sweet spot between bringing up thoughtful, gratitude-filled children and spoiling them rotten.  It's not an easy task during these instant gratification-fueled times.  In our house though, I've found that it helps to teach the kids how much richer the gift of giving can be, when what they're giving has been made by their hands and infused with their creativity.  By allowing them to truly focus on the creation and purpose of a gift, they in turn seem to appreciate more what they are given.  It's funny how things work out.

This season, encourage your children to (literally) be hands-on during the gifting process especially, when it comes to what they're giving to their own friends.  With just a little time and even less money, there are tons of things that kids can craft-up; then wrap up.  Here are a few, simple gift ideas that they can make and give to each other!

Sweater-Sleeve Beanie
Sweater Sleeve Beanie

There's so much waste during the holiday season, I try to teach my boys how to recycle and reuse whenever possible.  One of my favorite ways to do that is by re-purposing something old into a completely different item. 

Over-sized sweaters (in abundance at thrift stores) can be turned into a multitude of things.  This beanie is a cool way for kids to venture into refashioning, without needing to know how to work a sewing machine.  To make it, cut the sleeve off a Men's XL sweater.  Roll the bottom edge so unraveled edge is covered, and whip stitch into place using a needle and embroidery floss.  Cinch the top off, by wrapping and knotting a piece of yarn around the sleeve, about 8" above the rolled brim.  Let the excess sleeve hang off for a stocking cap look, or snip shorter for a beanie.

You can get 2-4 beanies (depending on the actual size of sweater and age of hat recipients), and still have the body fabric leftover for a future project! 

Friendship Pins
Friendship Pins

Slide multiple colors of seed beads onto small, safety pins. They can be worn on shoes (we used to stack as many as possible on our shoelaces, when I was a kid), or collected on string to be made into a necklace or bracelet.  Trade them with friends or even, make them for your whole class!  The look super sweet, wrapped in cellophane with a bow, sealed in tiny envelopes or nestled in jewelry boxes.

Bottle Cap Magnets
Bottle Cap Magnets

Recycle those soda caps into shimmery magnets perfect for posting holiday artwork on the fridge.   Cover the inside with a coat of craft paint, sprinkle with glitter while wet, glue in a snowflake sequin, and stick a magnet to the back.  Little elves can give bunches of these to their buddies --they look especially cute, stuck to the bottom of a small, holiday tin!

Pom-Pom Earrings
Pom-Pom Earrings

For under 25 cents per pair, the kids can make these adorably festive Pom-Pom Earrings.  Packages of both poms and earring posts (or clip-ons, for non-pierced ears) can be found at most craft stores.  Use regular or hot glue (recommended) to adhere a pom to post per earring.  They're so quick to whip up, your little fashionista can whip them up in every color for all of her B/F/Fs!  (Psst...parents!  Bookmark this idea for your gal's next birthday party.  Provide supplies for each guest to make their own and take with them as their favor!)

What ways are you teaching your children the spirit of giving?  From parent to Craft Apparent, share your ideas here!

Until next time, Happy (Handmade) Holidays!


P.S.  Join the Craft Apparent Flickr group and upload photos of you're awesome Craft Apparent crafts!


Washed-Up Wishes: Crocheted Gift Washcloths

Posted by Vickie Howell on December 3, 2009 at 9:42 AM in ChristmasCrochetGreat Gifts!Tutorial
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Kitschy Version
Cotton Christmas Cloth

Stitching washcloths is a great way to learn to crochet or if you already know how, then to practice new stitches.  They also make the perfect, portable project to work on while waiting at doctors appointments or watching soccer games.  Paired with an organic bar of soap (easily found at natural food stores), they also happen to make fantastic gifts for teachers, colleagues and party hosts! 

I've whipped-up two cloths for your Craft Apparent pleasure: a Kitschy Christmas version that's simple enough for beginners, and an Earthy Yulekwanzukkah version for those with a bit of crochet experience.  Feel free to ditch my color choices completely though, and keep this project in mind for any time you need a little giftie or, just want to treat yourself! 


1 ball each of sport or worsted-weight cotton yarn (found in most craft stores) in colors: Olive Green & Red (Kitschy Version) OR Taupe (Earthy Version)
Size US “I” (5.5mm) Hook (or size needed to obtain gauge)
Yarn Needle

(How many stitches per inch you get.)
4 sts= 1”


ch = chain
sc = single crochet
dc= double crochet
st(s) = stitch(es)
MB = make bobble


Kitschy Version:
With olive green yarn, ch 34.
Bottom Striped Section:
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in every ch to the end. (33 sts)  Cut yarn.  Turn.
Row 2: Join red yarn, Ch 3 (always counts as 1st dc), dc in next st.  Dc in every st to end. Cut yarn.  Turn.
Row 3: Join olive yarn. Ch 1 (always counts as 1st sc), sc in next st.  Sc in every st to end.  Cut yarn.  Turn.
Row 4: Join red yarn.  Ch 3, dc in next st.  Dc in every st to end. Cut yarn.  Turn.
Rows 5-6: Repeat Rows 3-4.
Row 7: Repeat Row 3.

Stripe Close-Up

Main Section:
Continue with olive yarn.
Row 8: Ch 3, dc in next st in next st.  Dc in every st to end.  Turn.
Row 9: Ch 1, sc in next st in st.  Sc in every st to end.  Turn.
Rows 10-19: Repeat Rows 8-9.

Top Striped Section:
Rows 20-25: Repeat Rows 2-3.  Tie off.

Join red yarn at one corner of your cloth.
Ch1, sc evenly around entire cloth, taking care to sc TWICE at all corners.  Tie off.
Tip:  When working the side border, you'll likely need 2 sc in every dc st.
Using yarn needle, weave in all ends. 

Earthy Version


Earthy Version:
With taupe yarn, ch 33.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in every ch to the end. (32 sts)  Turn.
Row 2: Ch 3 (always counts as 1st dc), dc in next st.  Dc in every st to end. Turn.
Row 3: Ch1 (always counts as 1st sc), sc in next st.  Sc in every st. to end.  Turn.
Rows 4-5: Repeat Rows 2-3
Row 6 (Bobble Row): Ch 3, 2dc, **MB (*Wrap yarn counter-clockwise around hook once and insert it into both loops of the stitch from row below; wrap yarn counter-clockwise around hook again and draw it through the first loop [3 loops on hook]; wrap yarn around hook again and draw it through the first two loops [2 loops on hook]; repeat from * four more times [6 loops on hook]; wrap yarn around hook for the last time and draw it through all six loops [1 loop on hook]), 3dc.  Repeat from ** until end.  Turn.

Subtle Bobble Close-Up

Row 7: Repeat Row 3.
Repeat Rows 4-7, TWICE more.
Repeat Rows 4-5 TWICE more.  Tie off.

Join yarn at one corner of your cloth.
Ch1, sc evenly around entire cloth, taking care to sc TWICE at all corners.  Tie off.
Using yarn needle, weave in all ends.

For crochet tutorials, check out the How-To section on my website.

Yours in holiday craftiness,

Psst!  Make this craft?  We wanna see a picture of it...and we're sure others would too!  Join the Craft Apparent Flickr group and upload photos of you're awesome Craft Apparent crafts!

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