Author Archives: jane

Do You Suffer From Game Clutter?

Four game boxes.
Game clutter.

I condensed these four games into one box. I put each game’s cards and pieces in its own reused, yet clean, self sealing plastic bag. I use new plastic bags sparingly and reuse them for non-food storage jobs like this or for craft supplies etc…

I recently decided to do something about my game clutter. I didn’t pay a lot for the games because most of them are second hand; however, we had to many. First I picked out a few to give to charity. Then I realized that I could condense several games into one box. Why do game companies insist on putting games in an unnecessarily large box? Alright, you need to fit in the playing board granted but why does the board need to be so big? Some actually do make an effort and have the board folded in four parts. I think they give us a big box so we will think we are getting something more/ better.

We enjoy playing games as a family and especially when company comes over. Yet, keep in mind that Milton Bradley did not invent Charades. It is so much fun and you don’t need any special equipment or even the boxed game.

How-to Play
Charades
is a game that someone acts out a word and everyone else tries to guess what that word is. Sometimes people divide into teams and keep score. To keep it fair, everyone thinks of a word and writes it on a scrap of paper and puts it into a hat. When it is your turn, you randomly pick from the hat. That way you will not intentionally pick really hard words because your team is just as likely to get that word. Also, if someone is acting out the word you put into the hat, be honest and don’t call out the answer. The actor is not supposed to talk or make sound affects but we aren’t particularly strict especially when playing with young children.
Alternate play; take turns acting out an action or event and have people guess. This can be really funny!

Guess what I’m drawing games like Win, Lose or Draw and Pictionary are like Charades only you draw instead of act. You will need a few supplies; some scrape paper and pencils or a chalk board and chalk. For really large groups a picture easel works well. Another great idea is to save last year’s desk calendar and use the backs for drawing the pictures.

When playing, feel free to make up your own house-rules. When no one can guess the correct answer, we allow clues.

Have fun!

MYO Magazine Letter Magnets

Magazine letter magnets are perfect for teaching. Use with a child that needs to learn their ABC’s or with a beginner reader. He or she will have fun playing around with these tiles and showing you what words they can spell. Pretty soon they will be making whole sentences!

Use on the refrigerator or on a magnetic cookie sheet.

Note: not for the very young; tiles may be a choking hazard.

Teens and preteens will enjoy leaving messages or sayings for others to read. Or they can make sets of tiles with their friends’ names and gift them. Magazine letter magnets will personalize your friend’s locker.

How-to:

A. Cut letters from magazines. You will find a great variety of fonts in all sorts of colors. Go searching for just the right ones. You may want to find all the letters in the same color or you might want the letters to be as varied as possible. Cut out the letters and make sure they fit on the tiles.

B. I used the tiles from a salvaged My First Rummikub game which was missing some of the pieces. Paste a letter on the front of each tile.

C. The magnets I used are promotional flat flexible magnets. (Promotional flat flexible magnets are often given out by businesses for promotional reasons, are ususally business card size and are easy to cut.) This is a perfect use for those unsolicited magnets. Use scissors to cut a piece large enough to cover the back of the tile and glue it there.

You might also be interested in seeing a related post: Special Valentine Message Magnets Made From Salvaged Materials.

Jeans Recycled Into Durable Pillow Covers

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Fabric sewed together to form a long strip.

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View of pillowcase inside-out.

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Detail of the flap and the snaps.

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These jean pillows also look good on my fading denim couch.

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Casual comfort for your bed. If you are ambitious, a recycled jean duvet cover would look fantastic too! A duvet cover is just like an extra large pillow case.

Here is a quick guide to making durable recycled jean pillow covers.
First collect old jeans. Don’t worry if there are holes in the knees or frayed bottoms, you can work around those areas.

Second, you will need to cut the jeans into strips. I made a stencil four inches wide out of cardboard. It doesn’t matter how long. I traced the stencil on the jeans, making the strips as long as I could. Slide your stencil up or down to lengthen or shorten the strip.
You can choose to make your strips wider or narrower, whatever works for the jeans you are salvaging and the design you wish to make.

Next, sew the strips together end to end to form a long strip. This method results in a random pattern and allows you to get the most out of your fabric strips (reduces waste).

Then, figure out how big you would like your pillow cover. At this point you should consider whether to have the stripes go up and down or across. Cut the strips to length, remember to leave extra for seam-allowances- a half inch for each side is good (width) and add about 4 or so inches extra so you can fold the fabric over forming a flap (length). Sew your strips together to make two rectangles (the top and bottom of your pillow),

Last, simply sew your pillow pieces right sides together. Leave one side open. Finish that edge (fold over and sew). Try it on your pillow, use extra fabric to make a flap. Add snaps.
E-mail with your questions or comments.

Home-made Sweet Bird’s Nest

You will have fun making your own sweet bird’s nest. They are lovely as centerpieces in a garden wedding or for spring decorating. Nests look amazing displayed under a glass cloche. These nests have all the charm of natural bird’s nests so you can leave the real ones for the birds. (There are laws in the US and Canada prohibiting the collecting of eggs and nests.)

They also make a beautiful gift for an expectant mother. They adorn the nursery with a natural reminder of the new life and the comfort and protection she will surround it.

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How-to:
Step 1. Gather some vines. I made these examples from the vines of the fragrant honeysuckle flower but you could try other vines as well. While the vines are still fresh, twist them around your hand; making tight circles then gradually spiraling bigger until you form the desired nest shape and size. Tuck in the ends to prevent unraveling. No glue is needed.

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Step 2. Add a layer of dried grass and/or dried fall leaves. Look on the side of the road in the fall or early spring for different dried grasses. You might want to put a pouch of rice or sand into the center of the nest to weight it down while your nest dries a bit. Keep it there until it holds its shape on its own -usually the next day. This gives the nest its great cozy feel; like a mommy bird has been sitting in it getting it ready for her little ones.

Step 3. Looking for things to decorate your nest is half the fun. Go for a hike.
Adorn your nest with a variety of native and locally grown ornamental plants including dogwood blossoms, hydrangea flowers, grasses, and herbs. In addition, you could add moss, bark, leaves, and feathers. Don’t overlook the tiny dried seedpods of last summer’s flowers.

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You may try lining your nest with downy feathers like in this nest or use a striking feather as an accent.

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Moss looks very natural in a nest. Moss can be found in shady areas which tend to be damp.

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Flowers like the dogwood blossoms on this nest can be dried in silica (a desiccant). There isn’t much to it really. Just place the fresh flowers in a container of silica and then gently pour more on top until the flower is completely covered. Check it after a few days, if it is dry, shake off the excess powder and you are ready to use them on your nest.

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Try adding fresh herbs to make it smell good. Thyme was used in this nest but I also like Sage.

I think these adorable ceramic speckled quail eggs make a nice addition.

I encourage you to make your own but if you would prefer to buy, you can special order the nests for garden weddings or otherwise from Fun In The Making (contact).

Clementine Box Re-used To Grow Lush Green Grass Or Wheat-grass

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Wheat-grass growing in Clementine box.

This re-purposed Clementine box doubles as an attractive green focal point. It looks great around the house: kitchen, dinning room, office – anywhere you want to be reminded of spring. I love it! I like to jump-start spring by growing grass or wheat grass indoors before the grass outside greens up. It is a super easy centerpiece for a spring or summer party; it looks amazing and is so inexpensive. Use as part of an economical eco-friendly garden wedding. You may also want to try growing a living Easter basket.

How-2: Early in the year, ask all your friends to save their Clementine boxes for you. These boxes have quite a few uses so don’t throw them away after you are done growing grass! Preparing the box consists of lining it with a piece of plastic. Any kind you have handy (a scrap of construction waste, the plastic bag that your bag of dirt came in, whatever). Wait until after you put in your growing medium before trimming off the extra plastic. Next if you are using soil, add a half inch more or less of pea gravel or other small stones for drainage. If using Vermiculite, it is not necessary to add rocks for drainage. Just remember not to flood your container. If you add too much, try pouring off excess water.

growing wheat grass

Wheat berries (also called wheat grass) can be found at your local health food store. This is the stuff that some people juice (with a special juicer) and drink for its health properties. Unlike growing rye grass, you must first soak and sprout your wheat berries before planting. To do this, place your wheat berries (less than a cup for each Clementine box) in a clean jar or bowl and cover with plenty of cool water and let sit overnight. You do not need the lid on at this point. Keep your jar out of direct sunlight and at room temperature during the sprouting process. In the morning rinse with cool water, drain off the extra water and put the cover on your mason jar. You should rinse one or two times that day and the next day. The idea is to have the wheat berries sprout a little root while avoiding mold or slime to form on the seeds. I didn’t have any problems with that. You should see roots forming within two days (more or less). Distribute the sprouted wheat berries across the top of the soil or Vermiculite. They should be sitting right on top of your growing medium. Use enough to cover the surface with some overlapping. Wet the soil/ Vermiculite in the box but don’t drown it. To keep my new “seedlings” happy, I put a clear plastic bag over the top to keep the humidity high. After about two days when the wheat grass starts to grow and the roots have gone into the soil/ vermiculite, you should take off the plastic. Place in front of a sunny window. You will need to check on it and mist as needed.

growing rye grass
Growing rye grass is even easier than growing wheat grass because you don’t need to pre-soak the seeds. Just distribute a layer of seeds across the top of the soil. (I use soil not vermiculite when growing rye grass.) The more seeds you use the thicker your “lawn” but don’t go overboard. Next, I sprinkle just a bit of soil on top. Water, cover with plastic, and mist when needed. Take off plastic when the grass starts to grow. Place in a in front of a sunny window and water when needed. So easy the kids can do it.