Category Archives: seasonal: winter

Fun With Cattail Spikes

When exploring a wetland with my daughter, we came upon some cattail plants (Typha sp.) When I saw them, I remembered how fun they can be. We had a pleasant time together discovering or re-discovering the amazing qualities of cattail spikes.

You have got to try this! Find a cattail flower spike in winter or early spring when last year’s flowers produced a sausage-like thing that is magic: or something close to it. Try pulling a handful off and hold it tight, then watch when you open your hand. It will explode into a soft landscape full of tiny seeds. Each seed has a bit of fluff attached; the purpose is to allow wind to carry the seed off to new locations.

All I ask is that you don’t play with all the spikes. Leave most of them alone. Did you know that some birds use the fluff to line their nests?

Bird Feeder Bird Watching: A Great Place To Start

Introduce your kids to bird watching by setting up a birdfeeder within easy view of a window. Children will have an easier time learning to use binoculars by starting with a fixed focus point. Children will focus on the birdfeeder (with the help of an adult if needed) and wait for the birds to come. They will see the birds like never before. Using a bird feeder will bring around many varieties of birds for their enjoyment.

Try buying different seeds to attract different varieties of birds. Provide a notebook where kids can record birds that they see. Show them how they can start their own life list. Buy a bird field guide or research sightings on-line.

Chipping Sparrows

Recycled Wool Coat Needle and Stitch Book

Using a salvaged wool coat, you too can make a really cute holder for storing sewing needles. I use this project as a learning tool for beginner sewers. It is a fun way to introduce students to three introductory stitches: the basic running stitch, the cast-over stitch, and the back stitch. In addition, students learn to sew on buttons.

Search second hand stores for a wool coat or blazer that is worn out or ripped. Take it apart at the seams and felt the fabric by washing in hot water.

Order a pattern from me or design your own pattern. If you want to save time and support this website, send an e-mail requesting this pattern (HesterJane@FunInTheMaking.net) The pattern is 2$ and you can pay by clicking on the donation button on the right-hand side of this website. You will also receive a smaller version of this coat intended for making Christmas ornaments.

How to:

1. Print out the coat needle book pattern. (See instructions directly above.)

2. Trace and cut out two coat shapes. Follow the blue dots for the front piece and the pink dots for the back piece. Note that the back is slightly different on the center top of the coat. *Follow the perimeter of the coat: don’t cut the dotted lines that separate the sleeves from the coat body (D to E on pattern) yet.

3. Cut down the center top of coat (front of the coat only) about 2 inches or desired distance.

4. Pin the front and back of coat together.

5. Fold down and pin the collar.

6. Fold up cuffs and pin in place.

7. Use the overcast stitch to sew up the side of the sleeve from A to G on pattern. Do the same to the other side of coat.

8. Cut your sleeves D to E. I find that it is better to cut the sleeves now when you have the front and back of the coat lined up on top of each other. This way the front and the back of your sleeves will be the same size.

9. Sew sleeve front and back together D to E. Do not sew the body of the coat from D to E because you want the coat to open up like a notebook.

10. Sew on button(S). Sew the buttons to the front of the coat only.

11. Use a backstitch to make a decorative line across the bottom edge of the coat on thefront of the coat only.

12. Use a backstitch to make a decorative line across the bottom edge of the sleeve cuffs.

13. Sew the collar down.

14. Cut out the pockets of your choice.

15. Sew on the pockets using an overcast stitch or a straight stitch. Front of coat only.

16. Use a backstitch to make a decorative line on pockets.

If you or your child is interest in taking a class on how to make these adorable coats, please follow the link “Classes” on the top of this website for more information.

Here are samples of student’s work.

This coat was made by a soon to be 4th grader. Isn’t Sara’s coat so sweet!

This cute coat was made by a soon to be 5th grader. Great job Katie!

Bedroom Blizzard: Paper Snowflake Decor

Paper Snowflakes; Snowing in bedroom.

 

Add a little fun to your life by making a winter wonderland in the comfort of your own home.

Pretty Paper SnowFlake

This snowflake was made from an invoice I received. I’ve been collecting these invoices and instead of sending them to be recycled (which is good too) I saved them to make a blizzard. Invoices work because the little bit of writing on the back isn’t overly noticeable. Also, I try to work with the whitest parts.

Paper Snow Flakes

Put a few of the snowflakes directly on the wall. Also, you can hang one snowflake under another.

Bedroom Blizzard: Paper Snowflakes

Hang snowflakes at different levels for a more natural snowing affect. I used salvaged fishing wire to hang some of the snowflakes. I have some fishing wire found during beach clean-ups. Parts that aren’t too tangled can be washed and reused.

Falling Paper Snow Flakes

It’s so lovely to go in that room and look up (or if you are lying on the bed and looking up); it makes you feel like the snow is really falling down all around. I couldn’t capture it in a picture so you’ll have to make it to see for yourself.

How to tips:

Paper snowflakes can be made with scrap paper, invoices, and used printer paper that still has a lot of white left. Have you ever printed stuff from the internet and the last page that prints only has the web address on it?

I save my favorite snowflakes to use again. Store them where they can stay flat such as in an unwanted (salvaged) book. The added benefit is that pressing them in a book flattens them out nicely.

Note: I tried ironing my snowflakes. (That’s not a sentence you see too often.) What I discovered is that some invoices such as from Amazon are printed with a heat printer of some kind; thus, rendering one side of the snowflake black when ironed. Best to test your paper first if ironing.

Don’t Have A Sled: Make Your Own!

Home-Made Sled

Home-made ski sled ready to go!

Isn’t this sled fantastic? Patrick King of Southern Maryland made it himself from a pair of skis he said were slated for the dump. It worked really well too! They looked like they were having a blast.

Why not make your own?

Use a pair of old skis, scrap 2 x 4’s, a scrap piece of plywood and a bit of rope. Plus, padding for the seat would be a good idea.

He said he just screwed the skis to the wood from the bottom. The rest looks pretty straight forward.

I love this kind of clever thinking.