Feb 28, 2011

St David's day and other randomness

So far this year I've been slow on the posting front as far as the blog goes. I think it's partly tiredness what with being pregnant and all, but mostly it's because anything that I put on the blog tends to get written at night after the kids are in bed, and recently I've been making a lot of stuff myself in the evenings and that's kept me away from the computer.

I know it's not something I usually do on Filth Wizardry, but I thought maybe I would put a post together soon to share some of the things that I've been making, not because they are particularly special or unique, but more because I've been making things using patterns or tutorials that other people have been kind enough to provide for free on the web, and thought it'd be nice to point folks to the ones that have worked out well for us, in case you fancy making some of the things yourself. It's mostly sewn, crocheted and knitted items made for children. Are any of you into that?

So anyway, as the title of this post suggested...

St David's Day.

I wanted to pop in before March 1st, to remind anyone with links to Wales that it's St David's Day tomorrow! and to give you the link to the St David's day crafts that we did last year in case you wanted to have a go (leeks, hats and flags). I think this year we're going to try making some bara brith (I'd better remember to put the fruit to soak overnight). And for the first time we will have some daffodils flowering out the front of our house on March 1st, which makes me happy. I might pin one to my jacket tomorrow :)

Falcon cargo math.

Thought this might give you a giggle. Last month I found some of the awesome little wooden hundreds, tens and ones blocks at a thrift store and wanted to find a way that the kids could learn with them without realising they were doing math. We ended up spending part of the afternoon using them as cargo crates on the Millenium Falcon dollhouse that Paul made for our 6 year old's birthday. They wrote out little invoices and delivery confirmations and random messages. It was pretty darn amusing. Love how Luke ordered some Batereets (batteries) for R2D2! I reckon we should use up the remainder of the grey spray paint on them to make them more like cargo crates.

In case you are wondering where on earth you are and if this has somehow started to turn into a homeschooling blog, fear not! This went on later in the afternoon...

Lovely People.

The weekend before last I was lucky enough to be able to meet up with Kami who writes "get Your Mess On" and runs "Austin Tinkering School". She came over from Texas to California for a few days on a mission to tinker and we managed to dash into SF in just enough time to say hi before she had to truck it back to Montara with Gever Tulley's immersive tinkering workshop posse. Although it was a very brief meeting, I was so glad that we managed to say hi. I absolutely love what Kami's been doing with Austin Tinkering School and have great admiration for the energy and enthusiasm she has when it comes to facilitating children's creative dreams. Hopefully we'll get to meet up again and hang out in May when Maker Faire is on.

My six year old was very enamoured with one of the vehicles that had been made during the tinkering workshop that day, so Paul helped her sort out something similar based on her drawings and plans over the weekend. It was very sweet watching her own the project and really only wanting help with things like not being heavy enough to push down with enough force on the electric drill. She still wants to add a seat and build a ramp, but in the mean time she and her mates are just pulling each other around the backyard on it at alarming velocities. See what twenty minutes hanging out with Kami Wilt inspires you to do!

Feb 12, 2011

Giant lolly pop valentines

So, first of all, for all the Americans reading, we British call "lolly pops" what you guys call "suckers", and for all the Brits reading, in the US St Valentine's day is waaaayheyheyyyy more commercialised than back home. All the kids trade valentines treats at school, which really is kinda cute and I have to admit that I do like that it is just about love in general and not exclusively love of the romantic variety. For anyone reading in a place other than the US or UK, how does your valentines day work? and what do you call lolly pops? By the way, we also call "popsicles", "ice lollies", which for some reason makes my American friends laugh and laugh like they have been huffing gas?!

Anyway, with all that cultural intrigue behind us, I just wanted to share with you the valentines cards that we sorted out this year and last year for the kids to give to their friends. A couple of years back I saw a post on 24-7-365 showing the way they had very cleverly made some personal valentines cards of their girls holding out lolly pops. You can see them here. (warning: cute overload) I really wanted to do something like this in 2010, but this exact idea wasn't quite going to work for us for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I wanted the girls to be able to give cards from the both of them, rather than make separate cards, and secondly I wanted to make the venture a bit cheaper to pull off, because we'd be printing them at home. The solution came in the form of a piece of white PVC plumbing pipe that we had lurking out the garage (these lengths of white plastic plumbing pipes along with their different connectors make very cool, very cheap building materials for kids to explore with, especially if you give them some bedsheets to throw over the constructions to make dens, but that's another post for another day). I just snapped a photo of the two girls holding the pipe together and then removed the background using Photoshop. If I hadn't had the ability to knock out the background with software then I would have just printed out the image at full size, cut it out with scissors and scanned it back into the computer with a white sheet of paper as the background then resized the image to fit on the postcard. The reason I removed the background on these images was to save on printer ink when printing so many copies on our home printer.

I also printed the cards on 4inch by 6inch plain index cards from Office Max, rather than using photo paper, which saved a bit too. As with the original idea, we just cut the holes and slotted in a lolly pop and it looked like the girls were holding a giant sucker, which they thought was total aceness of course.

This is the version from last year...

and this is the version from this year...

I also did one with just my older daughter for her to give to her classmates on Monday, leaving space for her to write in each classmate's name...

The text on these was from the handwriting font that my older daughter made when she was four. You can see how we did that here. I should really make an updated version!

I love how you can see the radical differences in my kid's personalities from these pictures. From the clothes they chose to wear, to the poses they struck. My older daughter is such a gorgeous little tomboy and my younger daughter is clearly dead set on being Cyndi Lauper when she grows up ;) We already knew that though. You just have to look at what they chose for Halloween costumes last year!

Just in case you have time today or tomorrow to make some valentinezy type stuff, here are a few links to older valentine's posts from Filth Wizardry that might be helpful...

Big love to you! and not just on Hallmark day either ;)

Feb 3, 2011

Guest post at Alpha Mom

Hello! I'm a bit late letting you know, but a couple of days ago I did a guest post for Alpha Mom, showing how to make some cute little valentines patches out of felt and sharpies and plastic bags. You can either use them to sew onto clothing or glue on some pins to make badges. Here's the link...

Homemade Felt Valentine Patches.

The plan is for me to attempt to have my act together enough to do a regular monthly post at Alpha Mom this year, rather than just the occasional guest post that I did last year. I'll make sure to let you know on Filth Wizardry when our projects go up on Alpha Mom, because they aren't going to be at the same time every month.

Also, good news! I've finally got my get up and go back after months of feeling like I needed to be taken to the abatoir to be made into glue! We've hit the half way mark in the human manufacturing process and we're at that awesome place where I feel capable again and I can stay awake past the kid's bed time. This means that I'll be back at the computer posting about our adventures a bit more, rather than just having the adventures during the day and then falling asleep regardless of my location at 9pm ;)

Oooh and gun hei fat choi! Congratulations and be prosperous! or as my four year old says "It's the year of the runny babbit!"