It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Sunshine-ing Craft

Our theme for the month is Summer, and the sub-theme for the week (no, I am not always so organized) is SUNSHINE. No, I am not always so organized, though I honestly don’t know why I don’t do it more often, since I LOVE THE FEELING so. I truly do.

So. This week. Summer sun. And to that end, Sunshine Suncatchers. Because in my house, it’s not ‘redundancy’, it’s ‘repetition’. It’s not ‘boring’, it’s ‘comforting’. As in, if The Bellybutton Book is good the first time we read it, it’s every bit as wonderful the 175th time we read it. Especially if we read it 175 times IN ONE DAY!!!! Because, when you are two years old, there is NO SUCH THING as “too much of a good thing”. No such thing at all.

Summer sunshine suncatchers. Sunny suncatchers. As simple as tissue paper, wax paper, and podgy. You will not that the bottle of glue says ‘podgy’ on it in hand lettering. That is because I make my own. You take regular old white school glue — this bottle came from the dollar store — and you water it down by a third or half. In this case, since it was of mediocre quality initially (see, above, “dollar store”), I only watered it down by a third. If you started out with good quality glue, you could probably water it down by half.

Please also note that I am throwing around these fractions with far, far more assurance than is warranted. It is not as if I, you know, measured anything. You want podgy, you take your white glue and add water a little at a time, stirring constantly, until it looks like podgy. And then you stop.

The wax paper will be the base of your coloured paper. You could just cut yourself a sunshine shape out of wax paper, but though it might appear at first glance to be more work this way, it is FAR easier to cut one circle and a bunch of triangles — one curve, a bunch of straight cuts — than it is to cut a bunch of triangles ranged around a circle. (In and out and in and out and round and in and… Trust me on this one…) And though I truly love crafts, I have my limits. Cutting out four or six full-formed sunshines just screamed BORED TO TEARS.

Tear the tissue into smallish bits. Yes, that is my adult hand there. Though toddlers demonstrate remarkable tearing skill when they are ripping pages from your library books, tearing is in fact a rather challenging task for them. Some (the minority) of them can manage it, and some (everyone else) only produce scrunched-up wads of stretched paper. And if you don’t think paper can stretch, you’ve never seen a two-year-old try to tear tissue. It’s quite entertaining. If pointless.

Cover your surface with podgy…

and cover the podgy with tissue.

As far as the kids were concerned, THIS was the fun part. They stayed at it for quite a while.


Set your wet pieces someplace safe to dry for a while. (This is my front hall floor, most definitely NOT a ‘safe place’, but it did have the advantage of lots of natural light for my light-hungry camera. I wanted you to be able to see the nice shine that develops as it dries.)

I could have taken an intermediary picture or two here, but we got excited and impatient, but I think you can figure the missing steps out: cut the rectangles into triangles, then tape the triangles to the circles. Hang it up in a window, and let the sun shine in!

Were I to do this one again, I’d go for shades of yellow instead of the red. I was hoping to see orange emerge where the red and yellow were layered on top of each other, but the red was too opaque, or maybe the kids just put on too many layers. Whatever the reason, next time I’d tweak that one thing.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | crafts | , , , , | 4 Comments

Beach Party!

A rainy day requires a craft. This, part of a wonderful craft supplies package put together AND MAILED TO ME by my thoughtful eldest, was our inspiration:


What do they look like? Why, beach umbrellas, of course. And if you have a beach umbrella, you’ll need a beach…

You’ll also need to reinforce your beach, so you’d better tape some cardboard to the back of it.

You’ll need a heap of sand to stick your umbrella into… (Yes, that is playdough. Yes, a truly unfortunate colour. That’s what happens when you let toddlers tell you which bottles of food colouring to put in, and how many drops. You get murk. Could be worse, though. Could be poo-coloured. Or, worse yet, mold-coloured… because it had genuine mold in it. Mmm-hmm. I’ll take a little harmless murk any day.)

Now you need sand, and what could be sandier-looking than yellow cornmeal?? (Well, yes, real sand would work, too, but recall that today was rainy. The only sand out there today is mud.)

Sprinkle some onto the mound, and gently pat in on…

TA-DAH!!! Beach umbrella in heap of sand!!

Now for the rest of the picture. Swish some podgey all over the “sand” part of your picture. (My podgey is homemade: one part white school glue with one part water, or maybe two parts glue to one part water, I can’t remember. It’s been a while. It doesn’t matter: if you want to make your own start with two parts glue to one part water, and then slowly add more water till it looks right to you. Oh, and there was some glitter in there, too. Did I put that in, or did it just find its own way in? Again, I can’t remember — but glitter is never a bad thing!!!)

Sprinkle cornmeal into the wet podgy. More is better. If you get too much, tip the paper and gently tap one edge to shake off the loose stuff. This is a good idea in any case, because there is ALWAYS loose stuff.

Next (and I forgot to take a picture of this, but I’m sure you can figure it out) you paint the water with podgy and sprinkle glitter on it — so it sparkles like water in the sun!

Every trip to the beach needs a beach towel. I let Emily browse my stash of used wrapping paper and old magazines to find the PERFECT beach towel. Then you cut it out. (Don’t you just adore the cuddly awkwardness of those dimpled fingers in the scissors??)

Stick the blanket on the beach — we used glue, but a staple would’ve held better, if I’d had one available, instead of in a bedroom with a sleeping baby — and TA-DAH!!! —

A beautiful beach. And a very proud little girl! A very proud little girl who was even happier to help Noah and Tyler make theirs, when they woke from their naps.

June 1, 2010 Posted by | crafts | , , , , , | 3 Comments