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Tag Archives | kids craft week

Project | Using Project Life With Kids

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We finish out Kids Crafts Week with the hottest thing to hit scrapbooking for grown-ups in the last few years…Project Life!

My 10 year old daughter, Bridget, recently decided that she wanted to “make a scrapbook too”. Due to her limitations (she has arthritis and autism), I decided to try her out with Project Life as a “shortcut” to enabling her to scrapbook.

I let her browse the new Project Life releases online, and she went straight for the “Blush” kit, full of pink and doodle-y flowers. (A “Honey” kit just “accidentally” fell into Mommy’s cart while the kid was picking out her kit….you’ll hear more about that later!)

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We picked a topic for her first Project Life pages, the day we spent at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for her 10th birthday last month. Then we sat down at my computer and I opened up my Adobe Lightroom library. Bridget pointed to the pictures that she wanted and I took care of printing them the appropriate sizes.

Since we were just starting her album, we started by inserting the cards for the front and back pages. It gave her a chance to try out working with the pockets. I was pleasantly surprised at how fast she picked up the concept of having to insert the cards from the backside to do the reverse of the pages. We’re working with the Project Life Design A page protectors, and a We R Memory Keepers Classic Leather Album in Kiwi.

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Bridget was so proud of her completed front and back pages! For now, we just put the cards in place as an exercise. Later, we’ll go back and decorate them some and create a title and everything.

First, I had her insert all of her photos into pockets. Because she had so many, we inserted an extra protector in the middle of the layout – a Design G protector that holds two vertical and two horizontal photos along with two 3×4 slots.

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Next I had her create a title card for the Animal Kingdom spread. She picked out a background card for it and then I offered her a selection of letter stickers for the title. She went (predictably for a 10 year old girl!) for the glittery aqua ones – Amy Tangerine “Scene” Foam Thickers in Cascade Glitter.

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Then I had her fill in, one by one, the other empty slots that remained in the page protectors by selecting cards from the kit and putting them in the slots. She wrote journaling on a 4×6 grid card, and did a bit of minor decorating on a few other cards. The journaling was a sneaky mommy way of getting her to practice her writing during vacation, and is one of the reasons I’m encouraging her to do this project this summer.

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One card she stamped to show that we were celebrating her birthday that day – she did really well using the little mini pigment ink pads from Close To My Heart with a small rubber stamp. The tiny stamp pad was a very usable size for her small fingers!

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And here is the result! She loves her scrapbook pages! They were a great activity for us to do together. Beyond the fun, they had some educational value in practicing her writing and her motor skills.

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Here’s a closer look at the finished product:

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Supplies | We R Memory Keepers Classic Leather Album (Kiwi), Project Life Page Protectors (Design A), Project Life Page Protectors (Design G), Project Life Core Kit (Blush), American Crafts Amy Tangerine “Scene” Foam Thickers (Cascade Glitter), BasicGrey Nook & Pantry 6×6 paper pad, My Mind’s Eye “My Girl” 6X6 paper pad, My Mind’s Eye “Happy Day” 6×6 paper pad, Heidi Swapp epoxy word stickers, Close To My Heart pigment ink (sky), Stampin’ Up! stamp set.

I was concerned when we started this that it would be over my daughter’s head but she did really well and loved it and is already excited to make her next page! Something tells me that this won’t be her last Project Life kit…this is a great kid project!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: American Girl Crafts- Funky Felt Pins

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

With summer quickly approaching it is a great time to plan some creative activities for my kids.  It is always wise to have some fun and easy kids crafting supplies on had to entertain the kids.  Since the American Girl dolls have always been popular in my household,  the idea of trying out the American Girl craft kits was met with enthusiasm by my girls.  The kit we tried out was the “Funky Felt Pins” which is recommended for children 8 years old and up.  The kit retails for $12.99.  

The packaging on the “Funky Felt Pins” is very colorful.  From the outside of the package, it does not look like you get much in the way of supplies.  However, I was happily surprised to find it was jam packed full of enough supplies for my girls and their friends to give this kit a try and learn some basic embroidery skills.
This kit comes with the following:
● Project & Idea Booklet
● 12 yards of embroidery floss in 4 colors
● 33 plain felt pieces
● 5 embroidered patches
● 12 adhesive pin backs
● 10 sequin flowers
● 1 piece of white practice felt
● 1 needle
● 1 needle threader
The instruction booklet does have some nice colored simple instructions for their versions of the following stitches and knots:
● running stitch
● applique stitch
● cross stitch
● french knot
● finishing knot
The kit is color coordinated with enough materials to create at least 12 pins.  Since it includes instructions and materials, it would make a fun scout troop project.  However, you would have to pick up extra needles for each girl; this kit only comes with one needle.

The first thing we did was to lay out the pieces and then pick out a few different shapes to sew together.

Then I sewed the small floral sequin onto the green felt flower using white thread to make the stitches stand out.
I then sewed the green felt flower onto the orange felt flower.

Which was followed by sewing those pieces onto the darker felt flower.
The kids took a vote and wanted to add some bling to the flower.   So I added beads to finish it off the piece.
As you can see, the steps are very simple and easy to follow.  However,  I did find that it was a little bit challenging for little fingers to negotiate the needle and accomplish the smaller stitches.   

However, even with that frustration, the project certainly kept her attention.

A different size needle did make the difference for her and she enjoyed making her project.
Here are some other projects we made with the die cut felt pieces provided in the kit.  The first is a felt owl pin.
The second is a funky felt ring.  A quick note on this one, my daughter sewed the different pieces together. However, since she wanted a ring we felt that adding glass beads would add some sparkle and interest the ring.


The third is a funky felt hair band.
The fourth is a funky felt  hair clip for one of their American Girl dolls.
These projects are so fun and easy for the kids to do.  They also provide a great surface for adding beads, buttons, rhinestones, and more.  I like this because it allows for creative self expression and personalization.  Since this kit was such a hit with my girls, I will be purchasing some of the other American Girl Craft kits this summer to keep them entertained.
Tips:

  • Lay everything out so you can pick your colors and shapes.
  • If you are using the kit for younger children, you can help avoid frustration by using white glue to adhere the pieces together.  Let dry.  Then sew together with simple stitches.
  • Use up those fun beads and charms you have around the house to use as accents for these fun pieces.
Pros:
  • Plenty of material for a fun party activity or scout craft project.
  • The materials in the kit are versatile, you can use the pieces to create more than just pins.
  • Kit appeals to more than just 8-year-olds.  My 20-year-old thought they were pretty cute and wanted to make one.
Cons:
  • The felt die cuts are a little difficult for smaller hands to negotiate.  I would recommend using a different needle for smaller hands and perhaps backing the die cut felt materials onto a slightly larger piece of felt.
  • Not enough needles, it would be nice if they included more than one needle in the kit.
  • Some of the accent stitches are little challenging for some 8-year-olds.  I would recommend sewing or gluing on beads or rhinestones, if the child gets frustrated.

GIVEAWAY
The folks over at EK Success are giving away kits to two lucky readers. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.
What are some of your favorite summer projects for your kids?  Do you have any hand sewing tips for kids or kid craft ideas?  We would love to hear from you.

Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!

Disclaimer

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Shapelets

Reported by Erika Martin

If you’ve never heard of “silly bandz” or “shaped rubber bands,” then you may just have been living under a rock. They’re all the rage in kids circles and schools. My daughter trades these shaped bands with her friends and has quite the collection going. Remember when we used to trade jelly bracelets in school back in the 80s? Shaped rubber bands are the jelly bracelets of the new millenium, and they’re taking the world by storm.
If you ask my daughter, “What’s better than silly bands?” she would say, “Making my own!” And that’s where Shapelets come in!
Shapelets is the “stretchy band design system” that allows you to create your own designs right in your kitchen! Shapelets bands are formulated to take on the shape you create on a peg board after you put it in your oven or toaster oven.
There are different ways that you can purchase Shapelets.:
  • The Shapelets Design System is a kit contains 1 pegboard, 32 pegs, 24 specially formulated bands, and 3 cut and punch templates. This kit retails for $9.99.
  • The Shapelets Class & Party Pack is a kit that contains 10 pegboards, 320 pegs, 96 specially formulated bands, and 30 cut and punch templates. This kit retails for $49.99.
  • You can also purchase refill bands when you run out so that you can continue creating. The refill packs come with 24 bands and Shapelets offers 4 different pack choices. Basics, Brights, Glow and Glitter. The refill packs retail for $4.99 each.

The Shapelets website includes a gallery that anyone can put their designs on and you can access it for ideas to use with your own bands.

The process behind Shapelets is a very easy one. There are 5 simple steps, according to the Shapelets website:
Step 1: Insert pegs into the pegboard to create the outline of a Shapelet shape you would like to make.

Step 2: Thread a new Shapelet band around the pegs to form the shape. Make sure the band is not stretched too tight. If you need to you can move the pegs to loosen the band a little bit.
Make sure that you choose the correct size band that your template calls for.

Step 3: Ask your parent or another grown-up to preheat the oven to 225°F. Then bake the Shapelet band for 10 minutes. CAUTION: PARENTAL SUPERVISION REQUIRED! (The pegboard and pegs are rated to withstand the 225° oven so they will not melt during normal use. Make sure not to forget them in the oven because they WILL melt and make a mess if you turn on your oven later on to a higher temperature.)
Step 4: Wait 5 minutes to allow the system to cool down. Then remove the Shapelet band from the pegs.
Step 5: That’s it! You’ve made your own Shapelet band with the Shapelet Stretchy Band Design System! Now you can wear it, show it, trade it, and much more.

When I took the Shapelets templates out of the oven, I got a strong whiff of plastic melting. I have chemical sensitivies (yes, I know, I use all sorts of crafting supplies, but it’s a worthwhile trade-off) so the smell bothered me a bit. I have a really sensitive schnoz, so others might not notice the smell. If you want to keep the odor contained, you could place the templates in a covered casserole dish so it doesn’t “hit you” when you open the oven door.
When you purchase the Shapelets Design Kit, you’ll receive a piece of newsprint type of paper that includes 3 “cut and punch templates.” These templates are a great starting point for using the kit and especially for younger kids that aren’t quite confident yet in creating their own designs. Directions are included on the sheet to instruct you on how to use these easy templates.

There is a useful FAQ section on the Shapelets website and this came in helpful for my daughter and I when we had bands break in the oven when we were creating. We had too much tension on some parts of the affected bands. This can also happen if you’re using a size of band that is too small for the template and pegs.

The bands that had even tension turned out great.

Another thing that we discovered is that you should make sure all of your bands are untwisted between each peg before you put them in the oven. If the band is twisted in between the pegs, you’ll get weak spots in your bands after baking. This could cause them to snap and break when being stretched later on. Some twisting of the bands between the pegs might also have played into why the bands in the above photos broke during baking, besides being tight on some of the pegs.

The FAQ section also gave us the idea to do up to 5 of the same shape at once. This way, my daughter could make a bunch of matching bracelets all at once. It cut down on the time and also on the electricity for our oven.
I think the one of the best resources that Shapelets offers, though, is their Create page on their website. You can create your own templates using the grid provided. You can add pegs, move the pegs and the band, print the template, submit your design to the gallery and the program even tells you which size band would be ideal for your design. It’s really important that you separate your bands by size so that you don’t put the wrong size on your pegs and ruin them in the baking process.

I tried my hand at creating a heart template. It takes a little bit of patience to figure out how to move the pegs and band on the program so that they’re going in the right direction for shaping but once you get the hang of it, creating new templates becomes addictive.


When I was done with creating my template, I printed it out on a piece of computer paper. It will also print with instructions and takes up a half page. To make the most of your paper, create another template and put the paper back in your printer in the opposite direction that you originally had it in so that you can print the next template on the black half of the page. Each template you create should have the size of the band needed at the bottom of the template, just like the cut and punch templates that come in the Shaplets Design Kit. However, the heart design that I made printed out as an “invalid size” so I tried different sizes of bands until I found that the smallest of the bands was a perfect fit.
Computer paper can be hard to poke the pegs through so use something sharp to make the holes in your paper to line up with the pegboard underneath. I used a seam ripper to poke the holes and the pegs went in really easy. You could also use a pin, a pen, the small end of a stylus, etc.
I lined up 5 bands and put them into the oven and they turned out great!


My daughter was excited to make some bands for the Penny Fair that we’re going to be having at our house on the last day of school (to benefit our local humane society). Look how serious she is about getting the bands just right.


We need prizes for the prize booth and since these bands are all the rage with her friends, we thought this would be a great addition to what the kids can earn at the fair.

Really, now…could you have asked for a cuter model to show off these Shapelets bracelets? Of course I’m biased, so I’d say no. *wink*

Pros:
  • Great price point for Design Kit ($9.99)
  • Shapelets offers a Class & Party Pack at an affordable price with plenty of materials for a fun party activity
  • Shapelets offers refill bands at a great price
  • Even though you’ll eventually use up all of bands in the kit, you still have the peg and pegboards to keep creating
  • The Shapelets website offers a gallery of designs, as well as a grid program to create your own designs to print and share on the site
  • Just as much fun for adults to create as it is for kids to create

Cons:

  • Only 3 cut and punch templates in the design kit, though you can find and print more on the Shapelets gallery and Create grid
  • For people with sensitive noses, there is a melting plastic type of smell that comes out of the oven when you take your templates out but this could be easily remedied by placing the templates in a covered casserole dish while baking
  • Some of the templates I created on the Create grid printed out as an “invalid size” – if this happens, you’ll need to experiment with different size bands to find one that fits well
The cons were not that big of a deal and we had a great time creating together. I can see this being a great activity for my daughter and her friends/cousins to do when they get together.

GIVEAWAY
The folks over at Shapelets are giving away kits to two lucky readers. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.
Are you or your kids sporting these bracelets? Would you purchase this to make your own designs and what shapes would you pick?
Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!