Creating with Children

Bubble Wands

June 18, 2014

Summer is almost here! This was by far the craft I loved designing most for Rhythm of the Home. These wands are still made every year during our summer solstice party, and they will be party favors at Emma Jeanne’s first birthday party. Nothing says summer quite like bubbles.

Bubbles and summertime go hand in hand. There is something magical about spending the afternoon watching bubbles float across the warm air, and even more so when you make the bubbles and blower yourself.

My kiddos have recently fallen in love with making their own wands, and they have become a staple gift in our household. A jar of homemade bubbles, and a magical wand always bring a smile to any little one’s face. They are also a staple at all of our family picnics. Galvanized steel buckets are filled to the brim with bubble sauce, as my middle son likes to call it, and we eat our corn on the corn to the sounds of popping bubbles and the taste of dishwashing soap.

Bubble wands are easy to make, and require just a few tools to transform wire and beads into the perfect wands for many different sized bubbles.

Bubble Wands

Materials

18″ gauge wire
Beads
Pliers
Plastic or metal pipe 1″ in diameter.

There are two ways to make these wands. The first is to fold your wire in half and place it over over the pipe, wrap a few times around itself at the neck and secure. In this version you have two equal length of wire and a round head. You will need larger beads for this version.

The second is to fold just the top of the wire over the pipe and secure it at the neck. This leaves you with just one length of wire, and the head. This allows for smaller beads, but it can also be a little bit more flimsy.

Place your beads on the rest of the wire, and secure with a decorative pattern to keep beads from falling off.

Dip in bubbles for hours of magical fun!

Homemade Bubbles

My mother gave me a bubble wand for my 16th birthday, and I remember the most beautiful afternoon spent eating and playing on the beach of Half Moon Bay. The recipe was attached to the bubble wand, and I have kept the concoction with me all these years. The recipe produces beautiful (and huge!) bubbles that will bring a smile to parent and child alike.

4 cups water
1 cup Dawn dish soap
1/4 cup corn syrup

Fill a bucket with your water, and gently add the other two ingredients. Stir without creating foam/bubbles and enjoy!

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Gathering Inspiration

January 30, 2014

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The past year is not one that I would say has seen a lot of creative inspiration for me. It has been an incredible year, a magical year, but not a creative year. Perhaps it was the pregnancy and postpartum brain, perhaps it was the adjustment to a big homeschooling family, perhaps I was just really really tired. Whatever it was, I have not done much more than knitting, and even that was simple baby knits.

As the craziness of the holidays subsided and the new year turned, my oldest and I spent a few days looking through books, videos, and patterns trying to decide how to get 2014 off on the right foot. I think that somehow we both knew that we needed new bits of creative goodness to get our mojo back. We made lists, day dreamed, and discussed the ins and outs of new projects and techniques. We decided that while we already do a creative project almost everyday, picking something specific to work on with each new month was how we wanted to plan our time. Screen painting, crochet, woodworking, throwing on the wheel, all of these things are on the list for this coming year.

In December (or maybe November, the days have blurred together) I discovered Creativebug. Oh my, this is a crafters dream. Classes from some of the best teachers and artists that you can take whenever you want, even in your jammies. In my current state of mommyhood, this was like finding the holy grail. I immediately bookmarked a few that I wanted to try, and I signed up for their monthly membership. One night, as the baby was asleep on my chest, with the toddler tucked safely in the crook of my arm, I decided to watch a class on embroidery. I knew the basics, and occasionally I would take needle to thread, but I wanted to really understand what it meant to embroider something special.

As I sat there and listened to Rebecca explain so many different stitches, it all came flooding back.

Any crafter will tell you their story of when the bug bit them. When they began traveling with their supplies, doing handwork in public, or started designing projects in their sleep. When the idea of a vacation was learning Irish Cabling by a lake, drawing with a best friend at the kitchen table, or taking needle to thread in a cabin along the Rockies. There are ups and downs, lulls and a few hiatus here and there, but we always return to the work of the hands at some point.

This time around it took that bug a while to come back and get me, but I am ever so grateful it did. After a lull long enough to put me soundly to sleep, my imagination was suddenly aglow, and my hands yearning for something new and fun. The past few months have been spent with cloth and thread in hand, with books galore on such subjects as crewel work, wood burning, and sketching. There are a few quilt tops that have been sitting for years, begging me to finally learn to finish them. There are certainly skeins and skeins of yarn that are telling me that now is the time to get over my fear of Fair Isle, and some little girl clothes that promise to be adorable, if only I will sit and learn to smock a dress or two.

Then there is this space, that promises me that if I will once again take pen to paper (or key to screen), I can find that voice that I have missed for so many months.

I dream now in color. In fabric and yarn, in thread and paint. I dream of words, of texture, and of creating the beautiful world I know is right at my fingertips.

                                      ::::::::::::

The sampler I embroidered above is designed by Rebecca of Dropcloth. Her work is a lot of fun, and so easy to get started with. My oldest loved it so much he asked for one of his own. The gorgeous purple silk blanket was a gift to Emma Jeanne from Stephinie of Gypsy Forest. If I can ever sew half as good as Stephinie does, I will call my life complete :). 

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