15 November 2011

Yarn Craft: Napkin Rings

My 4-year-old has been asking to make napkin rings for weeks. She saw a craft video on Sprout's web site and has been determined to make the Wrapping Paper Napkin Rings ever since. I kept pushing the project with each holiday that was approaching, and finally landed on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Yarned Napkin Rings

Yesterday seemed like a good day to get crafty, so we started out with the instructions from Sprout. After my daughter counted the expected number of people at our Thanksgiving dinner, I marked up divisions on a paper towel tube that we had saved. Using her "kid scissors," she then cut the tube into 9 rings.

Next, we took out our Christmas wrapping paper (not very Thanksgiving-ish, but I humored the child) and cut 1" strips. Lucky for nerdy-me, there are nice little squares on the back of the wrapping paper to give us 1-inch guides. However, even that didn't help with the results. After wrapping a few rings in the paper, Mommy made an executive decision to switch gears.

"Let's wrap the cardboard in yarn!"

yarn vs. wrapping paper
I mean, take a look at the sample photo. Doesn't the yarn totally beat the paper? Puh-leeeez. The paper just didn't have the same...je ne sais quoi! Am I right, ladies and gentlemen?

Here's the new DIY, folks.

  • Tip: if you don't have a paper towel (or toilet paper) roll handy, cut strips from a cardboard food box (cereal, granola bars, etc). Staple the ends together to form a ring of similar diameter to the towel roll. 
  • Find some yarn that has a nice color for your holiday of choice. We chose this great chunky burned orange for Thanksgiving. 

  • Pull the yarn through repeatedly to wrap one ring (without any glue, but maybe some tape to reduce frustration).
  • Unwrap it and remove the tape. Use that yarn as a guide to cut similar lengths for the remaining number of rings.

  • Using a hot glue gun, or good craft glue, attach one end of the yarn to the inside of a ring and let the kids help you wrap the rest of the ring. (You could probably use a mini staple to attach the end, as long as you conceal it). 
this is my 1-year-old "helping" the 4-year-old
  • When you get to where you started, glue the yarn inside the ring and snip off any extra yarn. If you're using a glue gun, you can try "ironing" down the end of the yarn inside the ring with the hot metal tip. This will keep it from fraying as well as hold it in place. 
  • Holiday Napkin Rings in an hour!

11 November 2011

Patio Garden Experiment: Fall Update!

So, PGEII (Patio Garden Experiment -Take 2) was interesting! It was not as eventful as we'd hoped, but we did eat whatever we were able to grow. I think we ate more from our friends' gardens than from our own, but that is to be expected when you're using pots in lieu of a raised bed. More watering and smaller plants, but easy watering and bug/worm picking, with easy harvesting. Just enough to feed us and give our patio a nice border.

the peas & onions before harvesting
We had peas, potatoes and onions in the Spring, a couple of green tomatoes at the end of Summer, and are currently enjoying kale and collard greens.

This summer's tomato crop turned out great for the squirrels. Saboteurs! Yes, nearly every tomato (green, yellow, orange) was picked off and nibbled by the little rats that live in our big oak tree. Thankfully, my husband ripped out the tomatoes and planted some kale, swiss chard and collard greens. We've been enjoying these veggies in our soups, sautes and sauces, and it makes up for the lack of produce this summer. I would do it again if I had to, but I think nothing beats growing things in the ground!

SUMMER... for the squirrels