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summer crafts

summer crafts

Summertime Game Nights

July 10, 2012

One of my favorite childhood memories is the endless Saturday game nights we enjoyed as a family. My dad traveled a lot when I was a child, and although he was the world’s best dad, and he never missed a night without a bedtime phone call (he worked most of his time in Asia, so that was truly a major effort), it was hard having him gone so much. Our Saturday mornings always began with a doughnut, and ended with a board game.

I am not sure how many games of Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, and Trivial Pursuit (Star Wars edition) my parents endured, but we all loved those long, lingering nights of play. When I think back now, I am not sure if I enjoyed it more on the dark nights of Winter, or the outdoor fun of Summer.

As Joel and I had children, games became a major focus of our family as well. Our downstairs hall closet is dedicated to the boy’s game collection, and there always seems to be a game of chess, checkers or backgammon being played on our floors. The addition of Landon has brought about a few challenges for Jacob and Elwood, as they struggle to keep him from grabbing their pieces, but I suspect that one day soon he will be welcomed into their daily play as well.

In these warm months of Summer, we find ourselves away from home and on the trails most days. During camping trips or long breaks on a hike, the boys would love to play a quiet game with one another. It was in that spirit that I created this portable backgammon game in the Summer of 2010 for Rhythm of the Home. To be honest, when my husband first saw this, he commented that it seemed like a lot of work for just a game, but it has gotten a ton of use in the past two years, and it is played almost every where we travel.

Portable games are a fun way to keep kids occupied, and continue the fun of playing no matter where you might be.


1/2 Yard of heavy felt for top of board
1/2 yard of coordinating felt or flannel for bottom of board
1/4 yard of flannel for board pieces
1/4 yard of coordinating flannel for board pieces
Fusible interfacing
1/2 yard of quilt batting

Begin by cutting one piece of top fabric, and one piece of bottom fabric 18×22″. Cut two pieces of interfacing, and one piece of quilt batting to the same dimensions.

Create a triangular template for your backgammon points, and cut 12 of one color, and 12 of another. The template should be 1″ wide on the top, and 7″ long.

Cut two pieces of ribbon 10″ for your ties, and one piece of the same ribbon 18″ for the center of your board.

Place your 18″ piece of ribbon along the center line of you backgammon board and pin in place. Layout your points, lining up the tops of each with the edge of the fabric.

Using a zig zag stitch, stitch around the two sides of the ribbon, and three sides of each of the points. Press.

Following the maunfacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the top and bottom fabric pieces. Place the game board top and the bottom fabric right sides together. Place the quilt batting on top of those two pieces, and pin in place.

Sandwich your ribbon ties between the top and bottom fabric pieces, and pin in place.

Beginning in the middle of one side, with a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew around the entire piece, leaving a three inch opening.

Trim your corners, being careful not to cut your stitches, and turn right side out. Press.

Fold down the edges of your opening, and use a blind hem to close.

Roll your board up, tie, and enjoy game night anywhere.

And of course, try as hard as you can to keep all your pieces away from sneaky little brothers.

Joining in of Keep Calm and Craft On today. Hope you will join us as well.

Portable Backgammon Board PDF



Tiny Treasure Bags

June 5, 2012

I love quick and easy summer sewing projects. At a recent picnic with friends, Elwood asked me if we could host a nature treasure hunt. It seemed like a fun and easy game, and there certainly are some great ideas around the web for ways to do it.

Originally I had considered baskets for the kids to use when they found their treasures, but then a little sewing seemed in order to bump it up a bit, and add a gift for everyone to take home.

These tiny treasure bags are super quick, and I love the fact that the kids can wear them around their wrist for ease. We had 8 kids participate, and the bags in total took a little over an hour to do. If you are making more than two of these at a time, I would suggest doing them all at once, and each step together.

A tiny bag is the perfect way to collect treasures on hikes, picnics, the beach, or the backyard.


Light weight fabric of your choosing (you will need no more than a 1/4 of a yard)

Square ruler

Rotary cutter or scissors

Ribbon for the wrist

Seam rippers


Sewing Machine

Cut two squares of fabric to your desired size. I used an 8×8″ square for 6 year old kiddos, and he bag held around 5-10 treasures, depending on the size they found.

On one side of each square, fold and press down 1/2 inch. This side will be the side that we open the bag, and folding it down this way ensures that the bag will not fray. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the fold closed.

With right sides together, pin three sides of the bag, and using a 1/2 seam allowance, sew around those sides. Clip your corners.

Turn the top of your bag down by 1″, and sew around the entire bag, leaving enough room for the size ribbon that you will be using to fit.

On one of the side seams, open the seam up using a seam ripper.

Using a pin to thread the ribbon, draw it through the opening and all the way around the bag.

To create a wrist hold, measure your child’s wrist, cut the ribbon accordingly, and using a ziz zag stich, sew the ribbon closed.

Your little one is now ready to go exploring!

Tiny Treasure Bags PDF