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Craft Apparent

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Posts in Eco-Conscious Crafts Category

Vickie

Crayon-tastic!

Posted by Vickie Howell on August 23, 2010 at 3:31 PM in Eco-Conscious CraftsGeneral CraftsGreat Gifts!Tutorial
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Recycled Crayons: Mixed Hearts


There may be nothing new about recycling crayons (after all, my mom was doing it in the 50's), but there's something about molding something old into a new version of itself that's so uniquely...now.

This project is a usable, versatile craft for all ages. The finished product makes great teacher gifts, favors for birthday parties, or back-to-school treats for the kids. Have fun experimenting with different color combos and tray shapes--I personally, have my eye on on a robot ice tray for our next batch--and use this opportunity to chat with your children about everything from the basic chemistry of wax properties changing, to where colors fall on a color wheel. Have fun!

Materials

Unwanted Wax Crayons (wrappers removed)
Silicon Ice Cube Trays OR
Candy Molds
Plastic Cups & Wood Skewers (microwave version only)


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How-To
Microwave (Solid Color) Version:

  • Combine like color pieces, into sacrificial cups (trust me, you won't want to drink out 'em after they've been crayon'd!).

  • Cook in microwave until melted (about 5-9 minutes); stirring with skewer, as needed.

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  • Pour melted crayon into candy mold. Work quickly, because the wax thickens fast!

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Oven (Marbled) Version:

  • Break crayons into small pieces.

  • Place pieces into a silicon ice tray. Kids love being a part of this process, because they can mix & match colors to create their own, little works of art! (My son Tristan, filled the two bottom hearts with colors to look like "camo" and "sand camo". Boys.)

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  • Bake in oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes, or until crayons are completely melted. Carefully remove from oven, taking care not to spill the hot wax.

    Both Versions:

  • Place trays into freezer for about 30 minutes to harden.

  • Pop your crayon creations out of the trays and enjoy!

Recycled Crayons: Hearts & Stars

Craft Apparently Yours,
Vickie
Vickie

Litter-Free Lunch Sack

Posted by Vickie Howell on August 10, 2010 at 1:36 PM in Eco-Conscious CraftsGreat Gifts!Sewing
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Litter-Free Lunch Sack

Hey, parentals! That glorious event we've been eagerly awaiting all summer is almost upon us. That's right, I mean back-to-school time! (Holding for applause.) This week, Craft Apparent celebrates with a project that assures that this year, our kids' lunch is in the bag!  So, ditch your disposable. A litter-free snack sack is simple to sew and easy on the Earth. Here's how you can make yours!

Materials
1/2 yd. Home Decor Weight Fabric (main)
1/2 yd. Lighter Weight Fabric (lining)
Iron-on Adhesive
Contrasting Thread
Sewing Machine OR Sewing Needle
Self-stick OR Sew-on, 1 1/2" Velcro Tabs
Scissors
Sewing Pins
Pinking Shears (optional)
Iron

How-To
  • Cut: two, 14" x 7" (sack front & back), one, 4 1/2" x 7" (bottom), and four, 2 1/2" x 14" (sides) pieces of main fabric. Repeat for lining and iron-on adhesive.

    DSC01576

  • Following the manufacturer's instructions, iron on adhesive to the wrong side of all main pieces of fabric. Iron lining pieces to adhesive on the main pieces.
  • Using a 1/4" seam allowance, top stitch across the top edges of the side, front & back pieces. 

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  • With right-sides together and using 1/4" seam allowance, sew two of the side pieces together to create a wider side. Press seam. Repeat for remaining, two side piece.

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  • Assemble the rest of the sack by sewing front, sides, back and bottom pieces together with wrong-sides facing and using a 1/4" seam allowance. Trim edges.

    DSC01581
  • Measure 3 1/2" down from top edge, of the front of sack; center and sew or stick-on piece of Velcro.  Sew or stick on reciprocal piece, 1/4" from the top edge of the back of sack.

    TIP: Spray sack with fabric protector before use to guard from excessive food stains!

Craft Apparently Yours,
Vickie

Vickie

Beach Blanket Blocks!

Posted by Vickie Howell on July 6, 2010 at 5:22 PM in Baby/ToddlerEco-Conscious CraftsSewing
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I'm a sucker for a vintage towel.  I buy them up at the thrift store whenever I find a batch from the 60's or 70's that through the decades, in a feat that can only be credited to science, seem to have retained all of their color glory.  I find their cheery powder-roomness quaint and their size, adorable--I mean really, how did grown-people wrap themselves in these things?!  

In the past, I've used these towelettes as re-usable wrapping paper, cut them up and knit them into bath rugs and turned them into swimsuit cover-ups.  Today however, I'm turning terry cloth into toys by making these cutie cubes for a little beach blanket blocko!  They're great for baby to play with at the pool or snuggle with in the sand.  Join me in a little cuddly kitsch, won't you?   Here's how! 

Materials
Discarded Towels (Vintage towels from the thrift store are great for this craft!)
Stuffing
Fabric Scissors 
Paper, Pen & Ruler (Optional)
Sewing Machine & Thread
Sewing Pins
Sewing Needle

Finished Size
4 1/2" Cube

Directions (Makes one block)
  • Cut out six, 5" pieces of towel.  You may find it helpful to first create a paper template to pin on the fabric before cutting.  Your choice.
  • With right-sides (aka the pretty side) facing and using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew four of the squares end-to-end to create a long piece.  Sew the remaining two squares to either side of the 2nd square of the long piece, creating a cross shape (see below.)

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  • Fold and sew piece into a cube shape, leaving one side open.  When sewing is complete, it will look like the picture below.

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  • Turn piece right-side out.  Generously stuff with polyester or bamboo stuffing.  If you're feeling fancy, you can substitute 5" pieces of foam for the stuffing.  I was not, in fact, feeling fancy.
  • Fold the edges of the open side under and pin together.  Hand sew closed.

Beach Blocks

Make as many as you feel like toting to your next trip to the beach for your family's very own block party!  Har, har, har.

Craft Apparently Yours,
Vickie

Vickie

Recycled Container Plant Pots

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Celebrate the Earth everyday and say, "Yes I CAN" to planting by upcycling cans, bottles and jars from your recycle bin to your garden!  This is a great opportunity to work with your kids on not only embracing nature, but showing them how one man's trash can be another man's planters.  Paired with sweet, colorful cacti and succulents, salvaged containers can put the "eco" in your patio dECOr.  Here are a few ideas how you and your family can make plant pots with a (re)purpose!

Materials
Soda Bottle, Jam Jar or Soup Can
Glue
Different Trims (Twine, Bias Tape, Ric-Rac, etc.)
Fabric Scraps
Scissors
Drill  (For kids, I recommend a Craft Drill)
Tiny Cacti & Succulents


Pop (Horta)Culture
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  • Cut a plastic, pop bottle in half; make slits in the bottom for water to escape.   
  • Cut out fabric appliques (I chose flowers from some oil cloth scraps I had).  Glue appliques and bias tape or ribbon trimming around bottle.

Owl Can
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  • Drill hole or holes in bottom of can.
  • Cut a piece of fabric long enough to wrap around a soup can, adding a 1/2" to overlap.  Cut 2 pieces of ric-rac trim the same length.
  • Spread a thin layer of glue around can; lay fabric on top.  Add an additional dab of glue where the fabric overlaps.  Glue on ric-rac trim.

Twine Bottle
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  • Cover a jam jar (or other glass bottle) with a thin layer of glue.  Starting just below the jar's rim, wrap twine around until completely covered. Snip off excess.
  • If you're using a jam jar then you'll have a lid with a removable top.  Ditch the top and glue a length of ribbon around the lid.
Once the glue has dried on all of your repurposed pots, fill each one with soil, a tiny plant and water.

xx, 
Vickie


Vickie

Chiming In

Posted by Vickie Howell on March 15, 2010 at 3:05 PM in Eco-Conscious CraftsGeneral CraftsNature Crafts
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Spring has (almost) sprung which means it's time to get our outdoor craft on!  With just a spoonful of creativity, your family can whip-up an eco-friendly wind chime out of recycled utensils -- so, clean out those cabinets for a D.I.Y. clapper made from everything but the kitchen sink!

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Materials
Wooden Spoons
Small Colander 
Indoor/Outdoor Spray Paint
Spray Sealant (optional)
Clear Jewelry Cord or Thread
Drill 
Scissors
Colorful Bead (optional)

How-To

  • Thoroughly coat wooden spoons with spray paint.  If desired, also coat with an all-weather, spray sealant.  Let dry.

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  • Drill a hole in each spoon handle, about 1/2" down from tip.

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  • Knot a piece of jewelry cord through a spoon's hole.  Feed the opposite end of cord up through the inside of one of the colander's holes and back down through another.  Pull until desired length; knot off and cut excess.  Repeat for as many spoons as it takes to create the look you're going for.
  • Tie a hanging loop of cord onto top of colander; slide decorative bead onto an additional piece of jewelry cord, knotting to keep in place.  
  • Hang and enjoy the clickety-clack.  What's that?  It's the sound of craftiness!

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xx,
Vickie

P.S.  Don't forget to share pictures of your crafts in our Flickr Pool!
Vickie

Hearts for Haiti

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It's that time of year when love & friendship are in the air!  As your children gear-up to give cards and chow down on chocolates remind them that nuthin' says luvin', like something handmade!  

This year the kids have the opportunity to open their hearts not only to their loved ones but also, the victims of the horrific earthquake in Haiti.  Encourage the kids to get crafty.  In addition to making heart-related projects for friends and loved ones, how about making some extras to sell to neighbors, relatives and other safe buyers? 

I've put together 3, love-inspired crafts: an embellished frame, plastic canvas pouch and recycled wreath--none of which are too difficult for a child under 10 to handle.  If you'd like, use these with your kiddos to start (or continue) a dialogue about charity, compassion and humanitarian responsibility.

Children often feel helpless in the face of tragedy but with the willingness to use their hands (and their hearts), they're really quite powerful!  Their crafts can make money for those who need it most and even if they're only able to raise a dollar or two, their efforts set in motion a universal, "pay it forward" plan!

Heartfelt Frame

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Embellished Frame Materials:
Unfinished, Wooden Frame (You can find these for about $1 at one of the craft store chains.)
Pink Craft Paint
Gloss Varnish or Collage Medium
Sponge Brush
Pink Glitter
Scrabble Letters
Glue

Frame How-To:
  • Paint frame front and back, applying a second coat if necessary.  Let dry.
  • Apply a thin layer of gloss coat.  Let dry.

  • Glue Scrabble letters in place.
  • Apply a layer of glue around the edge of the frame opening.  Sprinkle with glitter.  Let dry; shake off excess.

Pass the (Love) Note Pouch
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Plastic Canvas Pouch Materials:
2, Plastic Canvas Hearts (Available in craft store Embroidery sections)
1, Yarn Needle (The plastic ones work great, especially for younger kids!)
Red Yarn
Scraps of Turquoise Yarn
Scrap of White Fabric
Sentimental Stamp & Stamp Pad
Fabric Glue or Needle & Thread

Pouch How-To:
  • Using red yarn & needle, fill in plastic canvas heart with stitches.  Plastic canvas looks like a graph; you're stitches with be a series of diagonals.  To sew a stitch, come up through a square on one row then down through the square caddy-corner to it, one row above.  Once finished, repeat for 2nd heart.

    With wrong sides together and using turquoise yarn, whip stitch heart sides and bottom together.  Whip stitch around the tops of both hearts to create decorative edging.
  • Stamp a saying or lovey design onto a piece of fabric.  Cut out and glue or sew onto heart front.
  • Slip a sweet message into your new, cute pouch !

Love's Recyclable Wreath
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Plastic Bag Wreath Materials:
1, Wire Coat Hanger
Wire Cutters
Pliers
Scissors
5-7 Plastic, Grocery Bags
Decorative Ribbon

Wreath How-To:
  • Untwist the hook part of a hanger, enough to separate the ends.  Bend hanger wire into heart shape; use pliers to re-twist ends to secure (see example here).  Use wire cutters to snip off excess part of hanger.
  • Cut plastic grocery bags into 1"-2"strips--they don't need to be perfect or pretty.  Fold a strip in half, then tie it onto the wire heart.  Repeat all the way around until entire heart is nice and packed with bag strips.  Give wreath a "hair cut" to make heart-shape more apparent.
  • Cut desired length of ribbon; loop through back of wreath; tie a bow.

Tips for Selling Crafts for Charity
  • Set up an online store through Etsy!  It costs pennies, there's no minimum for how many items you have to sell at one time, and you can upload pictures of your child's finished products right from your home computer!  Make sure you also set up a Paypal account so people can purchase from you (this will obviously have to be under the parent's name as a checking account is required).
  • Get permission from principal or leader to sell crafts at school or church. 
  • Ask a local business for permission to set up a small table in front of their store on a weekend day.
  • Set up a limited time auction on Ebay.
  • If you'd prefer to sell only to relatives & friends, upload pictures of their products to Flickr or other photo sharing program, so the goods are viewable when your child calls or e-mails people to tell them about what he/she's doing
Where to Donate Cash Raised
Here are a few suggestions of charities that are sure to get the money to Haiti as soon as possible.

Find more charities here.

Remember, Valentine's Day isn't the only time to show a little love.  The people of Haiti are going to need help for the rest of the year too, as well as the foreseeable future.  Even if your family can't afford to donate money of your own, consider offering some handmade help whenever you can.

Happy Valentine's Day from Craft Apparent!

xx,
Vickie
Vickie

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!

xo,
Vickie

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

Vickie

'Tis the (Crafty) Season

Posted by Vickie Howell on November 29, 2009 at 2:32 PM in ChristmasEco-Conscious CraftsEmbroideryGeneral CraftsKnittingPainting
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Hey there!  Just a quick, post T-day check in to get your winter holiday, creative juices flowing.  I'll be back with a new project how-to post in a couple of days but in the meantime I thought I'd show you a few things from holidays past that you might want to make this year with your little elves (I listed recommended ages for giving these a try, but you know your kiddo's abilities so just go with your gut.)

Recycled Shopping Bag Wreath: Ages 5+
(Click here for instructions)
 Waste-Free Wreath(Reposted courtesy of Kiwi Magazine.)

Punch Embroidered Tea Towels
: Ages 10+ (Makes great, Grandma Gift!)
(Click here for How-To Video)
Lifetime Project: Tea Towell
(Project Originally Seen on myLifetime.com)

Knit-Print Wrapping Paper
: Ages 3+
(Click here for How-To)
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(Project originally seen on ILovetoCreate.com)

Felted Candy Cane Purse: Ages 7+
(Click here for the Pattern)
Candy Striper FElted Purse

Stay tuned this week, for a great gift idea for teachers, Aunties, and party hosts!

Crafty Holidays!,
Vickie
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