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Kaleidoscope of Krafts

For your reading convenients below you will find all the kaleidoscope of krafts published in 2016

January 2016

editor’s Note:
This month I am taking over for Lindy while she is in the process of moving. Although I am not as crafty as her, I was a preschool teacher for nearly 20 years. So, I have decided to include some of my favorite playdoh recipes.

Playdoh is not just for kids! It is great as a stress reliever, warming up those cold hands, and spending some fun time with your children or grandchildren.

Colored Playdoh
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup salt
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
Food coloring (couple of drops for a light color, and several for a darker color)
1 cup flour

1. Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until hot.
2. Turn off heat, and add flour.
3. While still on the stove, stir in the flour until dough pulls away from the sides.
4. Place warm playdoh on wax paper and knead until smooth.
5. Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

Add one of the following ingredients to the water to make it a “smelly” playdoh; an essential oil, cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla or mint flavoring.

*This playdoh can last up to six months if stored properly.

Uncooked Playdoh
1 cup cold water
1 cup salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Food coloring
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. In a bowl, mix water, salt, oil, and enough food coloring to make a bright color.
2. Gradually add flour and cornstarch until the mixture reaches the consistency of bread.
dough. 3. Knead until smooth.
4. Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

Edible Peanut Butter Playdoh (Yes, you can eat it!)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered milk
½ cup honey

Tip; spray measuring cup with cooking spray before pouring in honey, it will come out easier.
1. Combine all ingredients until smooth.
2. Separate into manageable portions for each child.
3. Allow the kids to play with, and then eat!
4. If any is still remaining, store in an air tight container, and place in the refrigerator.

Although the kid’s hands are the best mold makers, why not supply them with added tools to expand their creativity. Such items may include plastic utensils, cookie cutters, and a soup can for rolling out the playdoh.
Have fun!

February 2016

Editor’s Note: Since Lindy wrote a fantastic article for the International Perspective segment (above), I thought I would submit another playdoh recipe that is great for a Valentine’s Day gift.

No Cook Chocolate Playdoh
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup warm water approximately

1. Simply put all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl, using a fork to break up any large lumps.
2. Next add the oil and then bit by bit add the water, mixing all the time.
3. Once you’ve got a nice firm dough simply knead it until smooth.
4. If too wet, add more flour; a little at a time.
5. If too dry, add more oil; a little at a time.
6. Using small amounts of playdoh, make different shaped chocolate candies (circle, rectangle, square, etc.).
7. Use your fingers or a plastic fork to make markings on the tops of your chocolates for design.

You can purchase inexpensive boxes of all shapes and sizes at craft stores. Find the one you like, and fill it with your chocolate delights. Then give the yummy chocolate scented “candies” to someone as a Valentine’s Day gift!
**this is NOT edible!

March 2016

For this month, I am sharing two easy crafts one could do using tin cans.

According to The US Can Manufacturers Institute's website, the can's distinguished history began in 1795 when the French government, led by Napoleon, offered a prize of 12,000 francs to anyone who could invent a method of preserving food for its army and navy.
A Parisian named Nicholas Appert came up with the idea. A jack of all trades, Appert used his experience as a former candy maker, vintner, chef, brewer and pickle maker to perfect his technique. After experimenting for 15 years, Appert successfully preserved food by partially cooking it, sealing it in bottles with cork stoppers and immersing the bottles in boiling water. His theory of canning was all his own—Pasteur's discoveries regarding bacteria were still almost a half-century away. But Appert assumed that, as with wine, exposure to air spoiled food. So food in an airtight container, with the air expelled through the boiling process, would stay fresh. It worked.
Samples of Appert's preserved food were sent to sea with Napoleon's troops for a little over four months. Partridges, vegetables, and gravy were among 18 different items sealed in glass containers. All retained their freshness. "Not a single substance had undergone the least change at sea," Appert wrote of the trial. He was awarded the prize in 1810 by the Emperor himself. Like all good national heroes, Appert soon wrote a book called The Book of All Households: or The Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances for Many Years. It described in detail the process for canning more than 50 foods and was widely relied upon.
Later that year, an Englishman named Peter Durand was granted a patent from King George III for the idea of preserving food in "vessels of glass, pottery, tin or other metals or fit materials." Durand intended to surpass Appert and fashion containers out of tinplate. Made of iron coated with tin to prevent rusting and corrosion, tinplate could be sealed and made airtight but was not breakable like glass. A cylindrical canister and soldered lid would be much easier to handle than a fragile bottle with an unreliable cork.
Bryan Donkin and John Hall, used Durand's patent and, after more than a year of experimentation, set up the first commercial canning factory using tinplate cans in Bermondsey, England in 1812. If the French military was to travel farther and longer on their provisions, then the British needed to be able to do so as well. By 1813, Donkin's tins of preserved food were supplying the British army and navy. The Royal Navy used as many as 24,000 large cans—nearly 40,000 pounds—on its ships each year by 1818. The nutritious canned vegetables were a great relief to sailors who previously had relied on live cargo or salted meat and were often plagued by debilitating scurvy. It was believed that the salt caused the condition, when it was actually because the salt-cured foods lost most of their vitamins and nutrients in the preservation process."
Contrary to what one might think, there is quite a lot one can do with those cans we usually just get rid of. This fact became quite evident as I started doing research on the topic.

Kids will love doing these crafts, so you could have a lot of family fun. However, there is no reason why one could not do them on their own.
1: Recycle tin cans for storage and home décor
Turn your tin cans into pretty storage containers to hold anything from pens and pencils, hair accessories to office supplies and more, or use decorative techniques to turn your cans into savings boxes, plant holders or home decor items.

Make sure that your cans are clean and dry and the sides are smooth before recycling them. If you find any sharp edges, cover them with any kind of tape you may have at hand.
There are many ways to cover your cans to make them look nice or so that they could fit in with your decor or a certain theme.
Children can use white or colored paper and draw pictures or designs to cover their tins. Blind or visually impaired children could use braille to create interesting patterns and texture.
Fold and/or cut the paper to the right size and cover your tin can with craft glue. Starting on one side, smooth your paper onto your can. Make sure that the strip of paper is long enough so that the edges will overlap.
When starting this step, try to place your paper as straight as possible and don't be afraid to ask for a little help here. Another idea is to use fabric instead of paper. You could cover the outside as well as the inside of your tin. Other coverings to consider include felt, foam, clay, yarn or rope.
You could add various embellishments as well, including charms, gems, shells, small stones, leaves, buttons, and more.
You don't only have to use one tin can at a time. Make an organizer by using three or four different sized or shaped cans. Choose a medium such as rope in two different colors. For example, using black and cream, cover your cans completely with black rope and then wind the cream-colored rope loosely around your tins to add some interest.
Using clay in two colors, roll out long strands, braid them together and wind around your tin can for an interesting visual and tactile creation.

2: Tin Cans as gift baskets.
Use your tin can as a holder for candies small gifts or mixes. Wrap your can with some wrapping paper or some pretty fabric cut into a square. Place your square on a flat surface with the can of goodies at its center. Gather the corners of the square and tie with a pipe cleaner, rope or ribbon.
Alternatively, wrap your can like a cracker, laying it on its side and tying it closed on both sides. Present your gift to someone special.

I am sure there are many more ideas that are easy to accomplish. If you have any, please feel free to share with other readers if you would like to do so.


April 2016

For this month we will take a look at letterfolds. The folding of letters or notes probably started soon after the invention of paper itself. A folded piece of paper was not only smaller and easier to carry, but folding probably ensured that the letter would be somewhat protected while being transported.
Contrary to what one may think, there are not just one or two ways to fold a letter, but hundreds of letterfolds that vary from the more basic types to folds that may be classified as complex origami. For instance, examples of basic folds can be seen in some paintings from the 16th century. Using these images, Saadya Sternberg reverse engineered a method of how Europeans may have folded their letters in the 1500's.
To expand on the above, it would seem that, over the centuries, more elaborate letterfolds were devised, the purpose being to fold a letter into a small shape that could keep the contents hidden from prying eyes and to secure the fold in some way so it could not be opened easily. A messenger, or anyone, for that matter, would think twice before trying to open some folds because many letterfolds are so complicated, it is almost impossible to refold them once they have been opened. An example of this is the Lover's Knot; this fold is so complex that it is very difficult (near impossible) to refold once the paper has been opened. Another less difficult example would be the Victorian Puzzle Purse.
Apart from serving the above practical purpose, many letterfolds are decorative in nature, showcasing the creativity and simple genius of what origami is all about.

The letterfold I am sharing here is called the square letterfold. It is a traditional model, meaning it has been around for so long that the original creator is not known.
It is best to use fairly thin paper for this fold. Legal, copy or printer paper will work well, for this model.
This traditional letterfold has an interesting design, which is similar on both sides of the paper, with two bands running diagonally across the square, ending in a little triangular flap on one of the corners.
If starting off from legal, copy or A4 paper, the finished model will be more or less a palm-sized square.
The finished letterfold is fairly secure, thus, it can be used to enclose a written message or note, a small gift card, some money or any small, flat object that will fit into the finished palm-sized square.
Place it on top of a gift to lend a personal, decorative touch or teach this wonderful fold as a quick children's project.
If using two-sided paper, lay your paper with the patterned or colored side down and the message, if you have written one, facing up, before starting to fold.

Step 1: Place a rectangular piece of paper down on a hard, flat surface, with the short edges at the top and bottom and the long edges at the left and right, or in the portrait orientation.
Step 2: Fold the bottom edge up to meet the top edge. Crease and leave folded.
Step 3: Next, fold a section about a finger width up from the bottom edge. Crease and leave folded.
Step 4: Turn the paper over, like turning the page of a book, so you have a rectangle with a smooth surface again.
Step 5: Fold the left edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold to form a center vertical crease line.
Step 6: Fold the two bottom corners upwards toward the center, aligning the edges with the vertical crease line you have just created. Crease well and leave folded.
Your model is now starting to resemble a triangle.
Step 7: Notice that there is a long, narrow strip of paper at the top of your folded triangle. Fold this strip down as far as it will go, so it covers the top of the triangular shape. Crease well and leave folded.
Step 8: Turn your paper over once again, like turning the page of a book.
Step 9: Notice that there are two tiny triangles sticking out at the left and right top corners of your folded shape. Fold these little triangles up and away from you as far as they will go on both sides, so that your triangle now has two smooth, straight edges.
Step 10: Finally, fold the left and right top corners of your triangle down to meet the bottom center point of the model and then tuck them both into the little pocket that was formed in a previous step. Press firmly into place if necessary; then smooth the paper on both sides.
Present your beautiful square letterfold to a lucky recipient!


May 2016

For this month we will focus on the basics of crochet. Like with a previous submission on knitting, this article will discuss making a very basic item using just your fingers to create a crochet chain.
This is easy enough for children to learn and for absolute beginners to try, before moving on to using a hook to create more difficult crochet stitches and patterns.
Crochet is a centuries old craft that takes its name from the French word croq, which means hook. Crochet can be described as "a process of creating fabric from yarn, thread, or other material strands using a crochet hook." You work yarn into loops forming a nice smooth chain. You then follow a pattern of any stitch you prefer. Those who are just learning to crochet start out with single crochet, double crochet, half double crochet and triple crochet. Once you learn the basics you can move to the more advanced stitches like the Tunisian stitch, the Bobble stitch and the Shell stitch. Each of these stitches is either worked in rows or rounds."
To begin your chain, leave a 4 inch tail and make a slip knot. Loop the end of your yarn Pull the working yarn through the slip knot, creating a second loop.
Continue in this way until you have a chain. Try to keep your loops as even as possible.
Using this technique, you could create a necklace or bracelet. Either use a single strand of yarn or thread, or split your yarn into two balls and use two strands held together when creating your chain. To make your piece even more interesting, use two or three different colors of yarn held together.
Make your chain the length you prefer. Then leave a tail of yarn and pull it through the last loop of your chain. Pull tight. Tie the ends of the necklace or bracelet together using the tails of yarn or thread.
It is also possible to add beads or charms to your crochet necklace quite easily. Decide on the number of beads or charms you would like to use and slide the beads onto your yarn or thread before starting your chain. Then, while creating your chain, slide your beads or charms onto your project at regular intervals or perhaps just add one charm as a centerpiece for your necklace or bracelet.
Another idea would be to make different chains and loop them around each other, or to create chains of different lengths. Then knot them together to make a cascading necklace of three or four strands.
Something else you could do with your chains is to wind them around e.g. a plastic bangle or around a bottle or a tin can, thus creating a unique piece of art or decor for your home.
Other things to try include using crochet chains to frame a picture, winding your chains around a headband or using them as decorations for a special occasion.
The next step would be to learn to use a crochet hook to create chains with even stitches and then you might want to move on to the single crochet stitch. Use some bulky yarn and a large hook to start off with. Consider asking someone to show you the basic techniques of crochet, or you could find some information on the Internet or in books. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to hold your hook or create your stitches. You could ask someone to show you the basics, but adopt the technique that is most comfortable for you.
Happy crafting and good luck until next month.


June 2016

`` Father's Day is celebrated around the world during the month of June. With this in mind, I went searching for easy projects for this month's article. Below is a craft I found at Free Kids Crafts which I could not resist sharing, and another one that is part of my origami collection.

Smelly Socks Potpourri:
Potpourri is a mixture of dried petals and spices that can be put in a sack and placed in a drawer or closet to make everything smell good. You can make your own by mixing dried flowers and spices and even a few drops of essential oils, or you can buy ready-made potpourri.
For this easy craft, you will need the following:
Socks - Printed or decorative socks will look great, or you might decide to recycle a sock or two that has lost its mate
Rubber band
Matching ribbon or cord

1. Use the spoon to fill your sock with the potpourri.
2. Work the potpourri down into the toe area of the sock.
3. Keep spooning in the potpourri until the sock is tightly filled.
4. Using the rubber band, close the sock tightly at the top.
5. Cover the rubber band with the ribbon or cord and tie it in a pretty bow.
6. Place in a drawer or let dad hang his sweet smelling sock in a cupboard.
Alternatively, make a pair of socks to slip into shoes to freshen them up.

Our second craft for this month is a folded picture frame. Photos taken in both landscape and portrait orientation can be mounted within this frame.
A 4 x 6 photo should fit into this frame without it having to be cut, thus making it possible for a blind or visually impaired person to fold and mount the model independently.
It is a quick and easy project that could provide the opportunity for sharing good times and creating good memories on father's day or for passing time on a rainy afternoon.
Using origami or other colored paper will form an attractive pattern, making this photo frame even more eye-catching.
To practice, use a4, legal copy or printer paper, or you could even recycle magazine pages.

Step 1; Place a rectangular piece of paper down on a hard, flat surface, with the short edges at the left and right and the long edges facing top and bottom.
Step 2; Fold the left edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold.
Step 3; Fold both the left and right edges in to meet at the vertical crease line you have just folded. Crease well and unfold.
Step 4; Fold the two top corners downwards toward the center, aligning the edges with the first vertical crease line you come to. Crease well and leave folded.
Step 5; Fold the two bottom corners upwards toward the center, aligning the edges with the first vertical crease line you come to. Crease well and leave folded.
*At this stage you will still have a flat piece of paper with 4 corners folded in. Your model will have two long edges top and bottom, two short edges left and right and the 4 diagonal sides where the corners have been folded in.
Step 6; Fold the left edge toward the middle, stopping about a half inch from the center vertical crease line.
*Even though you will not be placing your paper directly on the vertical center fold, you can still use this line as a guide to help you fold in the sides of your paper as straight as possible. Crease well and leave folded.
Repeat with the right edge. Crease well and leave folded.
Step 7; Turn your model over, like turning the page of a book. You will now have a rectangle with a smooth surface again. It should be positioned with the short sides at the top and bottom.
Fold the top edge down to meet the bottom edge to form a horizontal center crease line. Crease and unfold.
Step 8; Lastly, fold the top edge down, stopping about a half inch from the center horizontal crease line. Crease well and leave folded.
Repeat with the bottom edge, folding it up and also stopping about a half inch from the horizontal center crease line. Crease well and leave folded.
You will end up with a rectangular photo frame with 4 corners. Tuck the 4 corners of your photo under the 4 flaps and display your photo in your new origami photo frame.

For those who might not know, I became interested in origami aka paper folding around seven years ago. As I started to learn more about the craft, I decided to compile some text-only instructions for folding various objects.
So far, two documents are available for download free of charge. If you like the picture frame I have shared above, you are more than welcome to download Accessible Origami - Volumes 1 and 2 by visiting

July 2016

For this month's craft, we will be doing a simple weaving project.
Weaving is an ancient textile art and craft form. It involves placing two threads or yarn made of fiber onto a warp and weft of a loom and turning them into cloth.
Weaving can be done in different ways, using various types of machines or equipment, from large computerized industrial weaving frames to small hand looms.
More recently, loom knitting has also become popular. For this craft, which is different from weaving, circular plastic looms in different sizes as well as long, straight looms are used, but for this project we will concentrate on weaving as such.
You might think that you would need lots of space and some expensive equipment to take up weaving, but actually, one of the simplest ways to create small woven articles is to make your own loom from sturdy cardboard. Weaving on a cardboard loom is not only a quick and easy craft, but it is an inexpensive and portable project that should be enjoyable for people of all ages.
For your loom, consider recycling the lids of pizza boxes, shipping envelopes, any sheets or strips of thick cardboard, except corrugated, which is not recommended for this project. However, it might be a good idea to start off with a relatively small project as suggested below.
Make sure that the cardboard is sturdy, yet easy to cut with a pair of strong scissors or a craft knife.
For creating your fabric, you have many options, including any kind and weight of yarn, fabric strips or even plastic bags cut into strips.
Step 1: Create your loom:
For a first project, I suggest either a small square that could become a coaster, or a long rectangle to make a woven bookmark, but the shape and size of your project is all up to you, of course.
Notches or slits have to be created on two opposite sides of your square or rectangle. They should be about a quarter inch apart and be directly across from each other as far as possible. For this step, I usually ask for help from someone to do the cutting, so I am sure that my notches are even and properly spaced.
To save time and perhaps make things easier, you could suggest that the person helping you draw lines across the cardboard before making the cuts.
For the rectangular cardboard piece, it might be best to cut the slits at the two short ends of the loom.
Step 2: String the loom:
Once you are sure that you have the same amount of evenly spaced notches on both sides of your cardboard loom, the next step will be to string or warp your project by winding yarn across the loom, using the notches to secure your yarn to the cardboard.
It is not critical, but to make things easier to describe, place the square cardboard down so that the notches are at the top and bottom. If you have cut the notches into the short ends of your rectangle, place it down with the short ends at the top and bottom.
There are different ways to warp a loom. For this project I suggest winding your yarn around the back and the front of the cardboard piece. This will not only make it stronger, but it will prevent the cardboard itself and the tabs from bending while you are working.
To warp your loom, start at the top left corner and tape your yarn at the back of the cardboard piece. Secure your yarn into the first notch at the top and go down to the first notch at the bottom. Take your yarn through this notch and to the back of the loom and all the way up to the second notch at the top and down to the second notch at the bottom again.
Then, move to the next slit to the right and repeat the process until you have vertical strings running from top to bottom across the loom. Once again, secure your yarn with some tape to the back of the cardboard when you reach the right bottom corner. Your yarn should be strung snugly over the loom, but not so tightly that it bends the cardboard.
Step 3: Weaving on your loom:
Cut about 40 to 50 inches of yarn and tape one end at the top left corner on the back of the cardboard loom. Cover the other end of the working yarn with a piece of tape or use a large metal or plastic tapestry needle or you could even Tape your string to the end of a pencil or skewer stick.
Starting near the top of your project, do your first row by passing the needle over and under the warp yarns, pulling the strand through as you go. The second row of weaving should be opposite to the first one, meaning that it should pass under the warp where the first row passed over it. And vice versa.
Remember to keep the left and right edges of your weaving a little loose so they stay nice and straight. As you create more rows, gently push your yarn upwards toward the top of your project.
If you run out of yarn, simply leave a short tail and start with a new piece of yarn you have cut. Using this technique, you could incorporate two or more colors into your weaving project. Continue until you have covered the entire surface of your project.
Step 4: Removing your work from the loom After the weaving is done:
Turn over the cardboard, and take off the pieces of tape that are holding down the ends of the yarn. Next, starting on the left side, cut two of the warp strings at the back of your loom. Try to cut near the horizontal center of the strings, so that you have the same amount of yarn at the top and bottom of your work.
Never cut the warp strings close to the weaving as that will cause your weaving to unravel.
Tie the two strings at the top of your project together in an overhand knot and then do the same at the bottom. Now, moving to the right, cut the next two strings at the back of your loom and continue cutting and tying the warp strings together until the entire project has been tied off at the top and bottom. If you have an uneven amount of strings, tie the last three strings together.
Next, gently pull your project into shape and weave in all remaining ends so they are hidden within the project, or leave the knotted strings at the top and bottom as decorative fringe.

By varying the shape and size of your cardboard loom, you will be able to create different types of articles. For example, a small square could become a coaster. Make the square a little larger for a hot pad. A rectangular shape could be used to create a bracelet, a bookmark or placemats. Sew three or four placemats together to make a table runner or a scarf. Use tiny rectangles to create rugs or a hammock for a dollhouse ... or anything else you could think of.
Using different colors to create interesting patterns could turn a simple craft project into an attractive wall hanging.
A flat strip of woven fabric can be turned into a purse or bag by folding the strip closed and sewing up the sides. Fold the top of the purse over a few inches and add a clasp or button if preferred. To make a shoulder bag, add a long knitted or crocheted strap.
To make a pillow, stuff with some fiber fill and sew closed on all sides.
A round article may be created by weaving across a sturdy paper plate. If you pull the yarn really taut as you go, you'll end up with a dish shape.

I hope you will give weaving a try and let us know about your creations.
Happy crafting until next month.
Sources: ardboard-and-yarn.html

August 2016

Hello to all!
Before we get to the craft project for this month, I would like to mention that I have had to make a correction to the weaving project I shared for July. I inadvertently left out some information in Step 4. I have since added the information and you can find the corrected article at Updated weaving article
My sincere apologies to those who have had trouble with completing Step 4 and thanks to those who have written to me to bring the omission to my attention. Your input is much appreciated.
Now onto this month's project, which will show you how to create two containers, a flat tray or box and a folded pouch or packet. As you will note from the names of the objects, I present them here as related to gardening, but Even if you are not a gardener, or don't have a garden, these folded items will make great gifts and both containers could also be useful to wrap a small gift, or to hold or store almost anything you could think of.
The flat box or tray described below is folded from newspaper and filled with seeds or seedlings. Since newspaper will deteriorate over time, the folded box or tray can be placed directly into the soil, so seeds or seedlings can be kept in this box or tray for the first few weeks, and then be placed where preferred without the fragile plants being disturbed.
Even though you will be using origami techniques to fold this box, don't worry too much if your tray is not perfect. What is important is that it can hold some soil and your seeds or seedlings.

Step 1: Place the sheet of newspaper down on a hard, flat surface, with the short edges at the left and right and the long edges facing top and bottom.
Step 2: Fold the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and unfold.
Step 3: Fold both the top and bottom edges in to meet at the horizontal crease line you have just folded. Crease well and unfold.
Step 4: Now fold the left, short edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold.
Step 5: Fold both the left and right edges in to meet at the vertical crease line you have just folded. Crease well and leave folded. The creases made in Steps 3 and 5 above determines the depth of your box. The closer your folds are to the horizontal and vertical center of the model, the higher the sides of your box will be, and the other way around, of course. Your model should now have 3 horizontal crease lines, resembling an upright cupboard with its doors closed.
Step 6: Next you will fold in all 4 corners in a similar way. To do this for the two top corners, fold the paper downwards and inwards until the edges lie on the first horizontal crease you come to. Likewise, for the two bottom corners, fold them upwards and inwards until the paper reaches the first horizontal crease you come to. Crease very well and leave all corners folded. Note that your corners will not reach the center vertical crease line after they have been folded. To ensure that the sides and corners of the box do not sag, I always fold these corners so their inner points just overlap the horizontal crease lines very slightly.
Step 7: Notice that there are two flaps that lie in the center of your model along the vertical crease line. Fold them outwards, to the left and right, as far as they will go. They will lie over the 4 corners you folded in the previous step. Crease these folds very well and leave folded.
Step 8: All that remains is to shape the box by grasping the two long folds you have just made at the vertical center of the model and lifting them upwards and outwards to form the sides of the box. The corners will start to form as you do this. Pinch the folds from the outside to improve the shape of the box and make sure all corners and sides are the same.

The second fold is a seed packet square. It can be described as a fairly secure flat pouch or packet, which is folded closed on all sides in order to hold small objects like seeds, or powdery stuff like bath salts, sherbet, etc. Its finished size will depend on the size of the paper you are using. E.g. if folded from printer or copy paper, the finished pouch, will be more or less the size of an old stiffy disk, or around 4 inches or 10 cm.
This pouch/packet can be used in scrap books, on top of gifts, for enclosing cards, notes, photos, money, any small, flat objects, etc. Alternatively, a note can simply be folded into this model and decorated for a quick children's project or a personal touch.
No glue or tape is needed, which is great when you need some kind of envelope on the fly.
If using two-sided paper, lay your paper with the patterned or colored side down before starting to fold.
Step 1: Place a rectangular piece of paper down on a hard, flat surface, with the short edges at the left and right and the long edges at the top and bottom.
Step 2: Bring the bottom edge of the model up toward the top, stopping just short of the top edge. Leave a narrow strip of paper, around an inch wide, visible at this edge. Crease and leave folded. You will not have an edge or a fold line as a guide to position your fold for this step. Just do the best you can by feeling along the entire top edge of the model in order to ensure that your fold is as straight as possible.
Another option might be to place a ruler along the top edge of the paper. Then flip down the ruler and the paper once, creasing well to create a straight fold at the top of the model. I have done this on occasion, but I have found that this type of fold does become easier and more accurate with practice, making it possible to fold fairly straight without the help of a ruler.
Step 3: Bring the top edge of the model down so that the narrow strip left at the top in Step 2 is now folded over. Crease and leave folded. Here you will have the edge you created in the previous step as a guide.
Step 4: Fold the top edge of the model downward once again, using the width of the strip folded down in Step 3 as a guide. This strip and the previous one should be the same width. Crease and leave folded. You will now have a long rectangular piece of paper that has been closed at the top by a narrow strip that has been folded down twice.
Step 5: Turn the model over, like turning the page of a book, and position it so that the edge folded over in Steps 3-4 is still at the top.
Step 6: Bring the upper left point of the model down so that the left edge comes to lie completely along the bottom edge. Crease and leave folded. You will now have created a triangular flap on the left side of the model and a narrow, vertical strip will have formed just next to the triangular flap.
Step 7: Flip the vertical strip of paper and the triangle next to it over to the right. This fold should be done by treating the vertical strip like the center of a book, which you should simply close or fold over on itself. Press flat along the left side of your model. The outline of your model will once again be a long, two-layered rectangle, with an extra triangle lying on top of it, along its left and part of its bottom edge.
Step 8: Next, fold the right edge of the model over to meet its left edge. Crease well along the right side of the paper and leave folded. Your model will now have a more or less square shape with the narrow band once again visible along the top edge of the pouch.
Step 9: Open the last fold again to reveal the triangular flap you created in Step 7. Think of your model as now being divided into three separate areas from left to right. Section A is a triangle with a narrow vertical band at its right; Sections B and C are two rectangles divided by a vertical fold line.
Step 10: To complete and close your seed packet, tuck the triangular flap on the left (Section A) into the pocket on the right (Section C). Recrease on both sides.

To use:
Open your seed packet into a long envelope by lifting the loose flap on the top left of the model and pull to the right. Make sure to keep the triangular flap folded on the left. Use the large opening on the right of the envelope to fill the center of the pouch (Section B) with seeds, bath salts, candies or trinkets etc and close securely. The same opening is also used to pour your seeds or bath salts or to remove the contents of your packet.
You could combine the two items above into a thoughtful gift by folding the box, but only until step 7. Tuck the seed packet, filled with seeds, into the flat box and present it to someone special. If necessary, show the recipient how to open the flat box. He or she will not only discover the hidden seed packet, but will complete the box, just by pulling the center flaps apart.


September 2016

If you can't knit or crochet, why not try to make this knotted scarf from bulky yarn?

The only materials you will need are scissors, any kind of fairly smooth, bulky yarn and a clipboard or tape to hold your yarn so that you have something to pull against when tying your knots. If you do not have a clipboard on hand, you could use any kind of hard surface to work on. Simply tape down your yarn to hold the strands in place while you work.
Step 1: Cutting your yarn
For this scarf, you will need 16 strands of yarn that are around one and a half times the length you would like your scarf to be. For instance, if you want the scarf to be 80 inches in length, cut your yarn pieces to around 130 to 140 inches long.
To keep things simple, use one color for your scarf, but you could also choose two or even three complementary or contrasting colors to make this scarf. Decide beforehand how you would like to group your colors if you use more than one color and place down your strands in the chosen order before starting to knot.
Step 2: Grouping your strands
Group your 16 strands into four groups with four strands in each. Secure the4 groups with an overhand knot, leaving a tail of around 6 inches.
Before starting the next step, make sure you have four strands in each group and that your yarn is not tangled or knotted.
Step 3: Placing your project
Secure the four groups onto your clipboard or a hard surface with tape so the overhand knots are lying next to each other. Make sure that the four knots form a straight horizontal line from left to right before starting the next step.
Step 4: Making square knots
You will be using the square knot for this project. If you have ever done macrame, you will already know how to make this knot. You will always be using four strands at a time, with the two strands at the center being the filler cords while the left and right strands will be the working cords.
For those not familiar with this type of knot, here are the directions:
To make a square knot, do the following two steps:
First step: take the left cord and bring it over the filler cords and then under the right cord. Then, take the right cord, bring it under the filler cords and pull it through the loop on the left. Pull on both sides to tighten your knot. This forms a half knot and completes the first part of your square knot.
Second step: take the right cord and bring it over the filler cords and then under the left cord. Then, take the left cord, bring it under the filler cords and pull it through the loop on the right. Pull on both sides to tighten your knot. You have now completed one square knot.
Remember to always start with the left cord to make your half knot and then to make the second half knot by starting with the cord on your right.
For this scarf, you will be tying square knots in rows. Leave even spaces of 3 to 4 inches between each row.
Row 1: Starting from the left, using four strands at a time, tie four square knots to complete your first row.
Row 2: Skip the first two strands on the left-hand side and start to make square knots, moving to the right. You will have three square knots in this row with two strands left untied on the right-hand side of the scarf.
Repeat rows 1 and 2, alternating between 4 and 3 square knots in each row.
Continue in this way until your scarf is the desired length. Remember to leave spaces between each row and check each row for mistakes before moving on to the next.
Step 5: Ending off
End on a row with four square knots. Leaving about 6 inches of yarn to form the end of your scarf, tie four overhand knots as you did at the beginning of the project.
Trim the ends of your scarf if necessary, or unravel the yarn to form a fringe.
I hope you will give this project a try. For any questions, feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help.
Happy crafting until next month.

October 2016

For this month, we will be discussing pompoms, those fluffy yarn balls that can often be found as decoration on winter hats and scarves.
There are many different ways to make pompoms. Various types of pompom makers can be bought from craft stores or on-line, but there are ways to make them without any store-bought gadgets. I will be discussing two of these methods below, as well as some ideas for what you could do with your pompoms. Lastly, I share a simple project using one or two pompoms.
Using Cardboard to make pompoms:
Cut a strip of cardboard, about 2 inches wide; the length does not matter, or you could use any card you have on hand, like a business or a bank card.
Wrap your yarn around it. Depending on the type and thickness of your material, you might have to experiment a little with how many times to wrap, but I suggest you try to wrap between 50 and 100 times for medium thickness of yarn. The bigger you would like your pompom to be, the more you have to wrap...
When you feel you have wrapped enough, carefully slide the yarn off the cardboard piece and lay it down horizontally. Gently spread it out to the sides as much as possible, taking care to still keep it in a oval-shaped bundle.
Next, take a longer piece of yarn or a twist tie and place it vertically across the center of your yarn bundle. Tie a tight knot or two to secure the bundle at its center.
Now, carefully slide your scissors into the loops you will feel on each side and gently cut open all the loops you can find. As you do this, your pompom will start to form.
Once you can no longer find any loops, you can start to trim all your yarn ends to make them a little shorter if preferred. Try to cut all the strands to the same length to ensure a neat and tidy appearance for the pompom.
Take care not to cut the long piece of yarn or tie that is holding your pompom together at its center, or the yarn pieces will all fall apart. Also, don't pull too hard at the yarn strands of your pompom, or the yarn will loosen and come out of the pompom.
Using your fingers to make pompoms:
Instead of using a piece of cardboard, you could simply wrap the yarn around your fingers and then follow the same process as shared above. When wrapping, try to wrap the yarn around three or four fingers on your non-dominant hand, just tight enough so that you can easily slide the yarn bundle off your fingers.
Once your yarn bundle has been tied, you will have a two-strand tail. Leave this long if you plan to attach the pompom to something.
Making pompoms can be lots of fun, especially if you have some extra yarn in your stash. Yarn is most often used to make pompoms, but you could also use bakers twine, embroidery floss, thread or any kind of rope you have at hand.
Different types of materials will produce different types of pompoms. For instance, silk will make a pompom that is fairly drapey and a little loose, while mohair tend to be downy, which makes for pompoms that are extra-fluffy. Thick wool yarn is loosely twisted, and puffs open for large pompoms. Very thin yarn is better for small, tightly packed pompoms. Hand dyed yarn adds another dimension: When it's cut, the snipped strands have color outside and a natural hue inside the pompom.
. To sew a pompom onto fabric, stitch straight through the pompom, being sure to pierce through the tied yarn at the center.
Many knitters like to use pompoms as part of their knitting projects. Patterns for children's clothing, hats, scarves and toys will often include pompoms as part of the instructions, though it might be better not to include pompoms for babies and toddlers as they could pose a choking hazard.
Pompoms can also make great decorations around the house or in the classroom. A long string with pompoms tied onto it can make a garland for a Christmas tree or hang it around the house for a party or to celebrate any occasion.
You could make pompoms and sew them into a bathroom carpet. For this you will need some type of strong material to form the base of your carpet. Once you have created your pompoms, sew them to the base, near enough to each other so that they will cover it completely, forming a soft, fluffy surface.
Another idea is to create a scarf made mostly from pompoms, instead of just attaching them to the ends of a knitted scarf. Use one or two colors of yarn and braid or tie the strands together to form the base of your scarf.
Then tie your pompoms onto the base. You might like to tie the pompoms close to each other, or leave some spaces between them, or alternate between different colors.
To make a simple pompom bookmark in two colors, do the following:
Step 1. Make one or two pompoms using one of the methods described above. When wrapping your yarn, hold one strand of each color together and wrap them around your fingers or the cardboard piece.
Step 2. Cut six strands (three of each color) of yarn 12 inches or so, or as long as you want the bookmark to be.
Step 3. Tie all six strands together using an overhand knot.
Step 4. Braid the strands together or simply tie them at the bottom into another overhand knot. You could also use square knots or any type of knotting technique you know for this step. Let the two colors mix haphazardly as you work, or divide your strands so that the colors form a pattern as you braid or knot.
Step 5. Attach a pompom to one or both ends of your braided or tied piece, using yarn of the same color as your pompoms. Trim ends if necessary.


November 2016

Hello again to all crafters,
As the holidays and Christmas season is approaching again, it made me think of what crafting is really all about, or what some of it is about for me, at least. Being creative, keeping busy, sharing tips, tricks, patterns and good times with friends, loved-ones or fellow crafters. Putting ones time to good use are concepts that come to mind, but there is so much more to think of when the word "crafting" is considered.
Being able to make or put together something meaningful and personal for someone else, has always been something special for me. Even if you are not able or inclined to spend many hours and a lot of resources, there are so many ways to create items with a personal touch. You don't even need any crafting skills. With this in mind, this month I share two simple gifts you could make for the special people in your life.

Washcloth Bunny
This craft is great to make as a small gift for a baby shower or for the little one in your life. Your washcloth will be a useful gift when untied and you could also add a small item to fit inside the circle formed by the folded cloth.
Keep in mind though, that this gift is not suitable for babies and very young children because of the small items used, that could pose a choking hazard.

You will need:
1 washcloth (a large, thin square cloth will work best for this craft)
2 small rubber bands
1 cotton ball
2 stick on eyes
matching or contrasting ribbon
small piece of double-sided tape or glue dot

1. Place your washcloth down with its corners at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock. If your cloth has a tag or loop for hanging, make sure that it is hidden when you do the next step.
2. Starting from the corner nearest you, roll the cloth up to form a long rope.
3. Next, bring the ends of the rope together and tie with the first rubber band, about two inches or so from the ends, to form the neck of the bunny.
4. Tie the second rubber band half an inch up from the first to form the head.
5. If used, tie on the ribbon into two bows to cover the rubber bands.
6. Adjust the points at the top of the cloth to form ears as needed.
7. Glue on the eyes and the cotton ball if used.
8. If preferred, place a small gift at the center of your washcloth bunny. A round or oval soap, some bath salts in a round or oval container or a scented candle may be a good choice.

The second project I'd like to share is so versatile that you could adjust it for any occasion and personalize it for each recipient. It is often presented in a mason jar, but almost any type and size container could be used.
The idea is to decorate the container and fill it with something special you have put together. You could also choose a project to celebrate a special season or occasion.
I am sharing only two examples here, but there are many ideas and recipes to choose from if you search or simply ask around, or let your own imagination and your knowledge of what each person would like, guide you when making this gift.
Examples include dry mixes for making hot drinks, cookies, cupcakes or desserts; or bath sugar scrubs, teas or salts, selections of small trinkets or supplies for sewing, crafting or gardening, all presented in a decorated container.
In general, make sure your jar is squeaky clean and that you seal it tightly after it has been filled. Decorate in any way you'd like, e.g. with glitter, paper, fabric, leather ribbon, rope, etc. Remember to attach a special note with a personal or seasonal message, instructions for use, or a thoughtful poem, depending on the type of gift you are presenting.

If you are celebrating Christmas in a cold climate, why not try the following gift in a jar?
Pasta Soup Mix in a Jar
1/2 cup macaroni or any pasta of your choice
1/4 cup dried lentils
1/4 cup dried, chopped mushrooms
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 tablespoon chicken soup base
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon oregano
dash of garlic powder

Mix Parmesan cheese, onion flakes, soup base, parsley, oregano and garlic powder together in a small bowl.
In a one pint jar, layer ingredients in this order:
Spice mixture, Macaroni, Lentils, and Mushrooms.
Store with tightly sealed lid, until needed.
Attach the following recipe with a hang tag to give as a gift:
Basic Pasta Soup
Combine contents of jar with 3 cups water in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe from

Ingredients for DIY Bath Salts:
1/2 cup Epsom salt
1/4 cup coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon nourishing oil (sweet almond, avocado, walnut, olive, coconut, etc)
5-10 drops of essential oil of your choosing (lavender and wild orange are great places to start)

Ingredients for DIY Sugar Scrub:
1 cup white or brown sugar, or a mixture of both
1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
1/4 cup nourishing oil (sweet almond, avocado, walnut, olive, coconut, etc)

Add everything to a bowl and stir well to combine.
Add more oil to reach the consistency that you like. This recipe is very flexible and very easy to make in large batches for gift giving.
Pour into a clean jar and decorate as preferred, adding a nice gift tag in print or braille with directions for use.

To use bath salts:
Add a few tablespoons of salt to your hot bath while the water is running. Soak for at least 15 minutes.

To use sugar scrub:
Soak hands or feet in hot water. Remove from water and rub all over with sugar scrub. Rinse well.
Recipes adapted from -homemade-gifts.html

Until next month, I wish you all happy crafting!

December 2016

With only a few weeks until Christmas and the holidays will be with us, I'd like to wish everyone a blessed time with friends and family. No matter which type of holiday you might be celebrating, I hope it will be filled with joy and good memories.

If you have made or bought some gifts for family and friends already, you might be looking forward [or not] to the next part of the process, the wrapping. I have come across those who simply love this part of the festive season, but then there are those of us who would love to skip it altogether, or gladly pass it on to someone else. With this in mind, I am sharing a wrapping method, or tip as well as another origami project. It is one of my favorite models to fold and I hope it will come in handy to help you add that special finishing touch to your wrapped gifts.

If you are like me, cutting the paper for wrapping gifts is the most difficult part of the process. To help or circumvent this task, I have resorted to a few techniques over the years, including enlisting the help of others, using precut wrapping paper or gift bags or by devising some innovative ways of taring and wrapping so I have to do as little cutting as possible.

I recently came across another method for wrapping to add to the above, though. Instead of using paper, why not use fabric? Depending on the type of gift and fabric, your wrapping could even be the gift itself or a large part thereof. So, for instance, you could use a cloth napkin or a tablecloth to wrap a gift for a kitchen tea, or a washcloth or towel to wrap a gift suitable for the bathroom. Similarly, a scarf or sarong could be tied around a gift for a special lady.

This method works best if your cloth is a true square, but a rectangular piece of fabric could also work as long as it is not too bulky. Simply place your fabric flat on a clean surface, with the gift at the center. Depending on the size of the gift and the fabric, you could just tie the fabric using a square knot, secured with a safety pin if necessary, or gather the four points of the fabric together, enclosing the gift inside. Wrap with an elastic band or any other kind of tie. If preferred, cover this with a ribbon. Another idea is to roll or fold your fabric so it encloses the gift and then tie it with one or two ribbons to secure the gift inside. Lastly, you could add a card or the gift bow I describe below to your wrapped gift.

Now, for the folded gift bow, you will need some square paper and a hard, flat surface to fold on. White or colored note squares that you can buy from most department or stationery stores should work very well for this model.
If you have not done origami before, or would first like to practice, consider using some ordinary copy paper that has been cut or torn into a square.
To create a square from a rectangular piece of paper, see the instructions below.

Step 1: Folding
Lay your rectangular piece of paper down on a hard, flat surface with the long sides to the left and right and the short sides at the top and bottom. Fold the top right corner of the paper down and to the left until you can feel that the two layers of paper lay on top of each other on the left-hand side. Follow the two layers of paper upwards to make sure they line up as closely as possible until you find the narrow, top point of the paper. While holding the two layers in this position, make a sharp crease, running your finger from the top left corner down and to the right. Now, on the right-hand side, your paper will slope up sharply from bottom right to the top left corner. Notice that at the bottom of your folded paper, there is a rectangular piece, which has not been folded. It is this part of the paper that you will remove to create a true square.

Step 2: Weakening the paper
Fold the single-layered bottom part of your paper upwards as far as it will go. The folded paper will overlap the bottom part of your folded triangle. Create a sharp horizontal fold and then, lifting or turning your piece of paper, fold the bottom part of the paper back the other way. Do this a few more times to weaken the paper in both directions. You can also run your nail along the crease or use a damp finger to weaken your paper even further.

Step 3: Removing the extra paper
There are many ways you can use to remove the bottom part of your sheet, including tearing, cutting with scissors, rotary cutters or craft knives, etc. Feel free to use whichever method you find easiest, or ask for sighted assistance until you are comfortable performing this step.

I will describe the tearing method I most often use for those who would like to try this.
After you have weakened your paper along the horizontal crease line, place the paper flat on your folding surface again. It works best if you now place the paper with the weakened fold in a vertical position. Place your thumbs and forefingers on either side of the crease, and move your hands apart in a swift, but controlled, motion.
Don't worry if the edge of your paper is not perfect. You will get better with this with practice.
Incidentally, you could use this method to tear your gift paper along any straight edge, instead of cutting it with scissors or a craft knife. I have found it works very well, as mentioned above.

Description of the origami gift bow: This is a rosette-type bow with a circular center surrounded by 8 small triangular points standing up and leaning outwards from center. It is rounded off with 4 triangular points peeking out from underneath the model on the sides.

This is a fairly easy model that can be used to decorate gifts for all occasions. It can also be used in scrap books, on cards or, if folded from small squares, as borders for photo frames or in conjunction with other paper crafts like decorating hats, for paper streamers, etc.
Using origami or other colored paper will form an attractive pattern, making this gift bow even more eye-catching.
NOTE: This model starts from the blintz base. If you are able to achieve this without instructions, fold the blintz base twice, turn the model over and repeat the blintz fold a third time; then go to Step 8.

Step 1:
Place a square piece of paper down on a hard, flat surface with its edges to the left and right, top and bottom.
Step 2:
Fold the left edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold.
Step 3:
Fold the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and unfold.
Step 4:
Use the crease lines on your paper to fold all four corners in to meet at the center of the square.
NOTE: This step May require some practice, because the folds should be straight and equal to each other. Try out different ways of folding until you find what works for you. The best way I have found is to fold the top left and right points inwards to form two top triangles. Turn the model 180 degrees and repeat this last step.
Make sure that, as far as possible, all outside corners are folded neatly at a 90-degree angle and that the crease lines all lie straight and meet precisely in the center of the square. It is fine to have very small "gap lines" between your triangles, but keep them straight and as small as possible.
Step 5:
Position your paper once again as for Step 1 and then repeat Steps 2 and 3 with your folded square.
Step 6:
Fold all 4 corners into the center again, similar to what you did in Step 4, to form another smaller square. Crease very well and leave folded. You will be working with more layers of paper, so press down hard enough with your fingers to make strong creases.
Step 7:
Flip the paper over and repeat the previous step. Crease very well and leave folded. Your square will now have 4 triangular flaps, each comprising 2 smaller triangles, coming together at the center of the model.
Step 8:
Fold the points of all 4 triangles outward again, but not all the way. Leave a small straight folded edge on each side of the square when folding each triangular point outwards. Press flat and make sure all edges are straight.
To explain the technique for this fold in more detail, lift one of the triangular flaps up until it is pointing straight up in the air. With your forefingers on the underside of the model and thumbs on top, make a small, straight fold by squashing the paper between your fingers. You are making a small fan or squash fold or pleat along the edge of your model. Do this fold on all 4 sides. Now, you will feel that there is a square area at the center of the model with a triangle on each of the 4 sides.
Flip the paper over. You should notice a triangle peeking out on all 4 sides of the model.
Step 9:
Next, focus on the 4 flaps that come together in the center of your square. Lift these up and fold them outwards, letting them stand up a little, leaning towards the outside of the square. Fold them back as far as they will go and carefully press them flat on the inside edges of your model.
Step 10:
In the center of your square, you will notice 4 more flaps. Lift these up as well and fold them outwards as in the previous step. Press carefully from the inside until all flaps are leaning towards the outside of the model.
Your finished gift bow should have a circular shape in the center with 8 little flaps leaning outwards and a small triangular flap on all 4 sides.

Instructions with supporting pictures and/or illustrations can be found at

I'd like to thank everyone for their encouragement and support over the past year and to extend best wishes to all for a blessed 2017!

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