Friday, June 16, 2017


CARDBOARD today!!!!

I'm so excited I could scream.

One of unfortunate side-effects of my kids growing up is the decline of cardboard festivities around the house. So many of our cardboard creations in days gone by were inspired by my kids at play, or just wanting to build things with them with materials that were cheap (or free), and that could be manipulated by very little hands. Now that they’re older and so much busier with school and sports, we don’t get to play with cardboard nearly as much as we should. So I must find other ways to get my cardboard fix, and other kids to whom to introduce this miracle crafting material. 

This summer, for instance, I'm working on some craft projects with the kids at our church. Not all of these projects involved cardboard originally but I turned them into cardboard projects anyway. Because why not? Duh.

Now, one of these projects is a torch, which the preschoolers are making. 

Sometimes, preschoolers are relegated to crafts of the embellishment-only variety, because they’re younger, or because there is often a large group of them with not enough adult helpers to ensure everyone gets the help they need. This is very practical, by the way, as any one who’s had to facilitate a large group of young’uns in close proximity to colorful and messy craft supplies will attest to. But sometimes, people forget there’s cardboard. It's dreadfully tragic. Because cardboard levels out the playing field. And cardboard with simple electrics kicks up that playing field a notch. Whoo! 

The really interesting (at least to me) thing about today’s craft isn’t that it’s easy, or even that it involves batteries. I mainly want to share it for a very simple, no-glue technique that has many applications beyond this torch. 

First, let’s look at what we’re using to make the torch: a cardboard toilet roll and a battery-operated tea light. We want to somehow affix that tea-light to the top of the tube so it can shine out. 

Note that while the tea-light is small enough to fit within the tube, it’s too small to stay in place without falling all the way through to the bottom. 

We could stuff the tube with crushed paper, or glue a circle of cardboard close to the top to make a shallow chamber within which the tea-light can sit, like we did with Rapunzel’s Tower in this post.

Or we could use geometry and scissors. 

Here’s the geometry - first change the cross-sectional shape from a circle to a triangle by squishing the sides like so. 

The sides of the triangle now fit more snugly around the tea-light, albeit at the expense of newly-created hollow corners.  


We're going to use those hollow corners in the next step.

Now come the aforementioned scissors. On each of the folds that creates a corner of the triangle, cut two slits a little deeper than the size of those hollow corners. Mine were about 1/2” deep and 1/2’ apart. To accommodate the height of the tea-light, I positioned the upper slit about 3/4” below the top edge of the cardboard tube. 

Push inward between the slits to invert the cardboard bit like so. 

Do this on all three sides.   

You’ve created little corner props, like shelf brackets.

Now the tea-light will sit on these little props, in its chamber, without falling down in the tube. It’s still not wedged-tight but this is exactly what we want, because we’re going to add the fake flame now.

We used yellow and orange cellophane paper but tissue paper and even thin sheer fabric like chiffon would work just as well. 

Scrunch up the cellophane around the tea-light (we switched the tea-light on first)  

and wedge it into the chamber.

Finished torch. No glue, no mess. And if an adult were to cut all the slits beforehand, as well as the pieces of cellophane paper, all the kids would need to do is push the little cardboard props inward, wrap the tea-light with the cellophane paper and stuff it into the top of the tube.  

Incidentally, to switch the light on and off, we just lifted the whole tea-light-cellophane bundle out of the chamber and flicked the switch through the cellophane paper (no need to unwrap).

If, however, you enjoy the higher risk levels associated with small children and glue, you could wrap the outside of the roll with decorative paper as an additional step. 

I found some wood-grain paper for this. 

Voila - wooden torch that actually works.

Can also be diversified to lighthouses, fake candles, night lights, castle turrets . . . and the push-in cardboard prop technique has even more applications wherever you need a quick shelf support!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Owie Doll Kits in Shop

Hello, friends!

Thank you for buying my Lunch Buckets! They've been flying off the shelves, but there are still three left, so if you want one, do stop in and check them out

There are a couple of Owie Doll Kits in the shop, too, which I forgot to mention in the earlier Lunch Bucket shop post. 

If you're not familiar with my Owie Dolls and would like to find out more, here and here are a couple of posts about them.

In response to some requests to make the kits available again, since the company that originally produced them for me a couple of years ago is no longer offering kits for retail sale, I put together a few of my own. It's a bit more labor-intensive than having someone else pack them for me, obviously, and I'm missing out on the giant bulk discounts because I'm producing them only in small quantities, but it was still fun to shop for, measure and cut everything out for you!

I've omitted the fancy packaging to streamline the cost but otherwise, everything else is as in the original kits - the skin velour, the 100% wool felt, and the various cotton fabrics for the clothes and accessories (I even threw in a couple extra fat quarters for variety). 

For US$45, you'll get enough fabric and other materials to make TWO dolls and all the accessories you see below. 

Please note:

  1. Any photos in this post that contain finished Owie Dolls are from my archives, so the colors of fabrics shown in them may not accurately represent what you'll be getting in the kits that are currently in the shop. Please read the listing description for the actual contents of these kits.
  2. You will need to provide your own sewing thread and needles and polyfill stuffing - these are not included in the kit.
  3. The kit also does not include the Owie Doll sewing pattern, which you can purchase separately here

along with the MedHub sewing pattern to extend the pretend play possibilities.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017 Lunch Buckets Now in Stock!

I am excited to announce that this year's Lunch Buckets are now in the shop!

Lots of pretty fabrics to choose from.

One dozen buckets - two with zippered straps and ten with the classic removable buttoned-on straps.

All come with drawstring covers to keep contents secure.

Here are some solo shots of this year's designs: - Scandinavian-inspired florals,

Marimekko prints,

(excluding this one, which the girls picked out to give away to their teacher at the end of this school year, but which I had to show you because I love the chrome-and-turquoise combo),

Jessica Jones' gorgeous barkcloth,
and ikat. Of course ikat.

All those pretty buttons!  

Oilcloth (or Thermaflec) lines the interior for easy cleanup. Check the individual listings for each bucket for exact material and colors.

The Lunch Buckets are about 7" x 7" (13" tall including the strap) - a good size for a packed lunch, carrying around craft supplies for a summer project, or a stash of snacks for the pool or beach. They usually sell out fast, so go here to to pick your favorites before they're all gone!