Kids Craft : : A Crafty Co-op.

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A friend emailed a few weeks ago after several kid-crafty post went up on my blog. She was inspired. She asked if she and her kids could come over from time to time to craft with us. The idea of some time together as adults while the kids create and play sounded perfect.

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And so the Kids Craft Co-op was born.

It is informal, with our families gathering every few weeks on a Monday morning. This is a new adventure and we've only met twice but have plans for many more crafty mornings together. I'm looking forward to warm spring days crafting outside in the sunshine.

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So far we have made wool & wooden bead necklaces and lavender
pocket dolls. (There are so many more wonderful ideas on our list!) The next time we meet the dolls will get faces and hair, but the girls are already loving their new babies.  Stuffed with wool and a pinch of lavender, they couldn't stop sniffing them.

This co-op has added another reason to get inspired with new projects and has brought a new sense of community to our days. We're more connected for making this time, as are our children.

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Want to start your own Kids Craft Co-op? Here is a framework to get you started.

1. Select an appropriate number of children. We like to follow invite one guest for each year your child is old. Since this is more Lupine's co-op than Sage's, three guests are appropriate. Too many guests will spiral into chaos and can overstimulate kids and parents alike, so for me less works beautifully. Start small and work your way up.

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2. Plan for your first craft. Select a craft that is age-appropriate for your guests. The younger the child the simpler and quicker the project should be. A good place to start is a 10 minute craft. If the children were able to focus, then expand the projects from there in subsequent visits.

Ideas abound, like crowns, fairy houses, magic wands, dyed pasta jewelery, bubble wands, music makers, play silks, matchbox babies, or a simple sidewalk-chalk extravaganza.

You may choose to plan the craft yourself for each gathering or rotate the task among all adults.

3. Set the time. Do mornings work best for your kids? Or after nap/afternoon? Prioritize your child's needs since they are being asked to share their space. Be flexible but don't get too wrapped up in accommodating everyone. Keep in mind clean-up time, too as you won't want to do all the clean-up after your friends leave.

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4. Invite your guests. We ask guests to bring a healthy snack to share and we provide all of the art supplies. You could mix it up and ask participants to bring a material for the project and a snack or just supplies.

5. Get Crafting! As I mentioned here, putting aside our own vision is part of the magic of creating with kids. So provide the framework, assist as needed, and get out of the way. Creating with kids is one of the joys of my everyday. Sharing this with friends makes it just that much better.

Kids Craft : : Valentine Babies

We started a new tradition this morning: Jammie Craft. Smoothies, fruit, toast, scissors, glitter, and glue – all while we're still in our PJs. I know. It sounds like a disastrous mix. But it was wonderful!

With Valentine's day on the horizon we collectively came up with this project: Heart Babies.

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A simple (kid-friendly) tutorial follows:

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Supplies:

Wool Felt * Wooden beads * Acorn caps

Thread * Paper * Fabric scraps

Cotton or wool stuffing * Glue

Small match boxes * Glitter

Mod Podge * Paint brush * Needle *Scissors

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The Box Top: Cut a strip of paper and a strip of fabric as wide as your matchbox. Cut long enough to allow 2/3" overlap. Coat matchbox cover with Mod Podge and wrap with paper. (This will keep the matchbox printing from showing through the fabric). Secure overlap area with additional Mod Podge.

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Coat the papered matchbox with Mod Podge and wrap neatly with fabric. Trim edges as needed. Coat again with Mod Podge and apply glitter if desired.

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The Bed: Cut the fabric lining for your matchbox bed. To do so you can sacrifice one match box to make a pattern by slitting at the corners and pressing flat, or use or method and guesstimate. Notch out corners.

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Mod Podge the inside of the box and carefully press lining into place.

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Baby: Cut out two identical hearts suitably sized to fit into your matchbox. Select a head-sized bead. Check if the bead will fit in the box with the lid closed. If not, select a smaller head or don't sweat it and let the box stay partially open.

Beginning at the "neck" area of the heart (top/center), use a running stitch or a blanket stitch to sew hearts together. Stuff with a bit of cotton or wool before closing. Sew bead to heart as follows: Heart, bead, scrap of felt (to secure head). Sew the head to body securely with a few stitches and tie off. Cut thread.

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Select an acorn cap sized appropriately for your bead head. Coat top of head (including felt scrap) with a generous amount of glue and press acorn cap into place. Wipe off excess glue with a cotton swab or your fingertip.


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After glue and Mod Podge has dried, tuck baby into bed.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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 Note: If you think these are lovely, please check back often. We're pretty crafty around here and have lots more sweetness to share. xo Rachel

Hand-painted wooden peg people.

I woke up grouchy today.

Tired. Crabby. So I made some tea and then decided that instead of feeding my children breakfast, we would paint peg people.

And suddenly I was so much less grouchy.

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The family above shows my grouchyness in that the mama is less than cute. The big kid peg person (now know as "HiHi Sage") is beyond adorable, while the real life-sized Sage was not so adorable this morning.

But that is more information than you asked for.

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I also painted a pocket acorn and a large bead head that some other grouchy morning will be transformed into a finger puppet.

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Easy, sweet, and fun. The kids made 2000 of them (give or take). They were painted with concentrated watercolors. We plan to finish them later today with a beeswax/jojoba oil rub. We buy our peg people and acorns (and many other treasures) here.

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(And then they got into their van and drove away.)

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"Hey kids – look over there."

"What? Where?"

(kissing noises).

The end.