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Kid Craft: Owls!

I hoard cardboard tubes. Wrapping paper. Paper towels. Toilet paper. Ribbon. If there is a cardboard tube inside, I toss it in a bucket and save it for a project. We’ve used the tube stash for peggie people slides, marble runs and, just lately, owls!

You know you want to make your own. You’ll need:

  • cardboard tubes – if you don’t have the toilet paper size, cut up a paper towel tube
  • paint and brushes
  • glue
  • google eyes
  • fabric or paper scraps – for wings and beaks

Ready? GO! First thing is to paint your cardboard tubes. The results of this will vary based on the age of your child. Ellie is two. I think we did pretty well!

Now you have to wait for them to dry. Wait. Wait. Wait. This is a good time to cut out triangles for beaks and petal shapes for wings. We used origami paper, but fabric scraps or felt would work well too. Once the tubes are dry, place your thumb along the top edge of the tube, and smush it in…

…then do the same thing on the opposite edge.

You’ve made pointy owl ears! Now glue on some eyes.

Add the wings and tah DAH! Owls!

Why, yes, that is a life jacket she is wearing. If you want to fancy this project up a bit for the older set, give them the tubes with the tops already folded down and see where imagination takes them. There are lots of creatures out there with pointy ears.

Yarn Miracle specializes in comfortable, conscious companion animals hand knit from natural, sustainable, humanely grown fibers and fillings. Every purchase of a full sized Companion or Itty Bitty Playset helps real companion animals (the kind that eat kibble and shed) find homes through my local humane society BARC.

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Craft Tutorial by Elemental Handcrafts of the Natural Kids Team

How to make a wool felted ball, by Stephanie of Elemental Handcrafts.

Sheep are awesome. They are cute, soft, smell good and if we treat them nicely*, they will share their wool happily and we can make things, lots of things! One such thing you can make with your kids is a wool felted ball. Here’s how:

*Please note that not all sheep are treated nicely. If you buy wool to make this craft or anything else, please research your source. Some sheep people are only in it for the money and don’t take proper care of the animals in their flock or treat them nicely and humanely. Buy wool with good karma! Locally raised on a small farm is often best.

Supply List

Humane wool roving in different colors
fabric scraps (I use old cut up wool sweaters)
Old stocking
twist ties
laundry soap
washing machine

This craft makes good use of old fabric scraps. I like to use scraps of old wool sweaters that have been cut up for different projects.

Start by balling up your scraps into a tight ball. The tighter the better as this will give your ball some weight.

Take strips of wool roving and begin wrapping your fabric scraps until you have well covered them. Keep in mind the color you use first won’t show much, so this is a good place to use a color you have but don’t love.

As you wrap your roving, carefully spread the edges out. This will help with the felting process, giving your ball a more smooth appearance.

Once you have your ball to the approximate size you would like it, (keep in mind it will shrink a little during felting), finish it off with some strips of color, if you desire.

Once you like the look, carefully put your hand into the hose- (I’ve used some stripey Halloween tights that had a hole in the knee), and like a glove, carefully grab the ball so the inside of the tights is next to the ball. Flip the tights over so the ball is now inside and either tie, or twist-tie both ends. Keep doing this until you have all of your balls wrapped in the tights. I like to do as many as I can at a time so we don’t run the washing machine for just one ball.

Once your tights are full, toss then into the washing machine with a little detergent and either a towel or some sheets or something without any hard edges. Wash your daughter’s overalls with the metal clips in another laundry load. Don’t add too much laundry. You want something to help agitate the balls, but if you add too much you won’t get enough agitation. If you are using dyed wool, don’t wash it with anything light as the dyes may run!

Run your washer with hot water and use a little laundry soap. No fabric softener!

Once it has finished the wash cycle, untwist your ties, take out your balls and reshape them. The wool should be well felted and you shouldn’t be able to pull fibers off very easily. If you can pull fibers off, wash them again. Once felted, take them all out of the stockings and either air dry, or toss into the dryer on hot for more felting.

You’re done! If you made six, like me, you can now give them to your kids and look up, “How to juggle” online. Have fun!

This tutorial was written by Stephanie of Elemental Handcrafts.

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the greening of a family

Today’s post about Earth Day and raising eco consciousness in our families is from Amy Turn Sharp of Little Alouette – you can visit their lovely shop of heirloom wooden rattles and toys here.

(photo above from Little Alouette)

Earth Day 2010 celebrates the 40th anniversary of a wonderful movement started by Senator Gaylord Nelson. He had a great idea and kept working at spreading the word in a grassroots way, starting with a Scholastic Magazine article that the schools across America read and shared. It seemed that everyone began working together to focus on starting this special day. It started small but has grown into a promise by many of us to protect and nurture Mother Earth.

photo via Flickr

I love the story of the movement being started by the small ones! Yay for wee ones and educators! You can start today to make life a bit greener in your home in simple and affordable ways. The greening of a family can start slowly with simple deliberate actions.

photo via Flickr

Here are some ideas for raising eco consciousness in your family:

• Make your own household items like detergents and cleaners. I made laundry detergent last year and have fallen in love with the economical and greener clean I get from the mix. Check out our blog here to find out how!

• I like to use vinegar for most of my cleaning. You can dilute it and add water and presto you have a perfect cleaner that is very inexpensive. Baking soda is perfect all-purpose scrub and won’t harm little ones. I love using natural products and I find that adding essential oils can give you a fresher scent and mood lift while cleaning.

• If you can give up a paper towel addiction turn to washable cloths and kitchen towels. I love micro fiber cloths!

• Teach your children well! Talk about recycling and head to a local landfill and recycling center for a field trip. Have a simple recycling center in your home and let even the youngest place items in the bins. Label bins with pictures and word and encourage your children to recycle each day. Try out backyard or kitchen composting. For a load of fun and science try vermicomposting! WORMS! (We do it and it is a blast!)

Art for kiddos- talk to kids about thinking first about the supplies we have in the home for art. The recycling bin is a perfect place to check first.

Check out the Crafty Crow for amazing recycled art activities!
I found this amazing Springtime fun on the site this week….

boats from cork!

Save those corks!

Another fun activity for Earth Day and beyond is stamp making in the recycling bin

You can start small and teach your children that tiny steps in the right direction will help us all and truly honor Mother Earth.

Thanks! Amy Turn Sharp of Little Alouette xo

Be sure to check out Little Alouette’s beautiful teething trees, made from Ohio maple wood (and much love), and all the other beautiful handmade pieces in their shop.