Thursday, January 24, 2013

Introducing "Unicorn"

 Every spring, the kindergarten classes at our elementary school have a unit on pets.  So far this week, our daughter has come home wanting a mouse, a guinea pig, a rabbit, and a baby turtle.  We told her she would have to settle for a dog and a cat...which we already have.

As a part of the unit, the kids have to create a "pet" out of recycled materials.  They will have a class pet show where they all stand up and introduce their pets for the parents.  When C was in kindergarten, his pet was "Buster", a turtle made from styrofoam plates, tin cans, and an egg carton.

This year it is G's turn.  She chose a snake.  I was happy with this choice, as a snake seemed like a pretty easy one to do.  And I had everything on hand except spray paint.

  • Cans - we used 7 of various sizes
  • Spray paint
  • Acrylic paint and brushes
  • An awl (I think that's what it's called?)
  • Yarn
  • Hot glue
  • Pony beads
  • Googly eyes
  • Scrap of felt

We started by punching a hole in the center of the top of each can.  We used some tool from my husband's workshop.  I think it was an awl?  Or something.  Tools aren't my forte.

Next, we sprayed the cans green.  This was G's choice.  It was a very bright green!!! (The cans are on this odd shaped board so we could spray them in the garage and bring them inside to dry.  It is too cold to dry properly out there.)

Once the cans were dry, they got decorated.  We used acrylic paint that I have left over from some project.  Here is a picture of G painting...

And the finished cans:

Then we had to assemble the snake.  This sounded so easy in my head.  Just tie a knot in the yarn, thread it through, and tie another knot on the other side so the can stayed in place.  Yeah.  I have pretty small hands, but not small enough to tie a knot inside the can close enough to keep the can from moving.  Plus, the holes in the cans were so big that we would have had to quintuple knot the yarn to keep it from sliding through.

Luckily, I had the hot glue gun all warmed up to attach the eyes, so we just improvised.  I tied a double knot in the end of the yarn, slid it to the hole and covered it with massive amounts of molten glue.  Once that set, I tied another double knot at about the bottom of the can and repeated the routine.  We followed this system until the last can.  The last can we put on the opposite way so that there wasn't an empty hole at the end of the snake.

Now for embellishments.  We added several ponybeads for the "rattle" on the end of the yarn.  Again, I used copious amounts of hot glue to hold these on.  Googly eyes went on the "head".  We cut a tongue out of pink felt and glued that on.  And then the snake received her name...Unicorn.  Don't ask.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How I Stopped the Hair Combing Fits!

I have a 5 year old girl.  This means I have a 5 year old eardrum-shattering banshee when it comes to hair combing time.  I have tried detangler, combing it wet, combing it dry, leave in conditioner, sleeping in braids.  It doesn't seem to matter what I try.  It's wailing, "I hate you", screaming, sobbing torture.

And then came a stroke of genius.  A friend had her daughter's hair done really cute for dance class one day and mentioned that she had these cards with different hair-do's on them and let her daughter pick one that morning  I think they were American Girl cards?  Anyway.  I thought maybe if I let G pick her own hair style, she would agree not to throw a tantrum.  It's worth a try, right?

Rather than buy cards, I decided to make my own hair-do catalog.  So I sat down on the computer and used Pinterest to find some cute dos.  I think I pulled off 18 - anything from a really simple ponytail, to this complicated-looking braided flower thing.  I made 3x5 rectangles in a word processing program.  I put a picture of each hair-do in one.  For the complicated ones, I put instructions in another box.  Then I printed them off.

Now to make a book she can look through.  I gathered up the supplies:

  • The pages I printed
  • Index cards
  • Colored Markers
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Contact paper (someday I will get a laminator...sigh)
  • Paper punch
  • Small piece of ribbon

Then I started making the book:
  1. I cut out all of the photos and instructions.
  2. I wrote the title and colored a pretty cover on one of the index cards
  3. I used the glue stick to put a photo on the front and the corresponding instructions on the back of each index card.  The exception was a few really easy dos.  For these, I don't need instructions.  So I put a picture on each side of the card.
  4. I laminated the cards with contact paper (Mine is really old and has been crumpled up in the craft cabinet, so the pages aren't as smooth as I would like.  Again, wishing for a laminator...)
  5. I punched a hole in the upper left corner of each card and tied them together with a pretty pink ribbon.
This was a really easy project, but so far has had great effects!  We've been using it for 3 days now, and I haven't had a single tantrum.  AND her hair has looked super cute.  Her kindergarten teacher told her yesterday how pretty her hair looked. :)

Here's the finished project: