Thanksgiving Crafting

This post was written for a few Thanksgivings ago, but these crafts are so much fun, I am sharing them again with you for this year!

I have a few crafts to keep the kids busy at your next Thanksgiving gathering. I wanted to keep it contained and interesting, with things they could do on their own without any messy components like glue or scissors.

I prepared all of the pieces for each craft ahead of time, so on the day of, I could just place them out on a paper-covered table, and let the kids go at them!

There were three different projects they could choose from.


Materials to create with: poster board bands, feathers, markers.

To prepare this craft, I cut strips of poster board that were 23 inches long. On one end, I notched it to look like a dull arrow. On the other end, I used an exacto blade to cut 5 vertical slits about an inch apart. In the middle, I used the blade again to cut sets of 2 horizontal lines (one on top of the other- about 3 inches apart). This way, it eliminates the need to be taped closed, or even the use of glue for feathers. Everything inserts! Easy peasy.

Beaded necklaces.

Materials to create: pre-cut string, beads, gluten-free macaroni

We have serious gluten allergies here, so we used a GF noodle, but this also works well with wheat pasta. I pre-cut lengths of stretchy string, and knotted a bead on one end to get them started.

Cuffed bracelets.

Materials to create: halved toilet paper tubes, double sided tape, felt pieces, feathers, markers.

All I had to do for this one, was cut the toilet paper tubes in half, then slit them open vertically. They amazingly stay on all sized wrists and are pretty stylish looking.

I chose to honor Native Americans and the gracious sharing of that very first Thanksgiving meal with strangers to the land.

Even though we used non-traditional materials, I think it is important to show our children how many cultures make up this wonderful country of ours, and how we all meld together as Humans, even symbolically. There is a common good that I want my girls to know. Truly to be thankful for all that they have, and more importantly, have to give.

“I’m thankful for my home my friends my food and all the guests at this table”.

These crafts not only opened up conversations, they kept the kids busy while the grown-ups chatted and had a grand ol’ time as well.

What eventually happened was the grown-ups migrated to the kids’ table and started to craft too.

I call that a successful activity…for all ages.

What do you do to keep the kids busy before the food comes out?


Thanksgiving Toilet Paper Tube crafts

Looking back through my Thanksgiving posts, I found two gems, using toilet paper tubes for decor.

The first is a tutorial for recycled toilet paper tube flower napkin rings (wow that is a mouthful).

It’s all about simplicity.

To make your own, you’ll need:

Toilet paper tubes and an egg carton. I also used watercolor paints and hot glue along with yarn, popcorn kernels, and acorns. But feel free to use what you have!

I started by cutting the toilet paper tubes in half and tearing up the cups (roughly in half) of the egg carton.

Then I painted them. If you have children, this is where they can help out!

Allow them to dry completely.

Next, take two halves and hot glue them together. Then keep adding a piece at a time until you have a flower.

Hot glue popcorn kernels and acorns inside the flower.

Set aside.

I wrapped and hot glued orange yarn (that I got for free) around the toilet paper tubes. You can use any string you have, or none at all. They do look pretty great on their own, too.

Glue flower to the tube.

Insert a cloth napkin and you’re done!

I also left some without flowers. I can’t decide which I like better.

For the rest of the table, I gathered rose-hips and leaves, acorns, and even a dried wooden round that was in the firewood pile.

Cranberries in bowls add a sweet touch. I also whipped up a very simple tie garland using scraps of fabric that I had tied to a long piece of twine.

I had a few squash that I thought were really beautiful, so I added them to the mix!


I chose to just have a lovely crocheted runner instead of a tablecloth. And leaves instead of place mats. I really wanted to show off the table I made (see? if you don’t have a large wooden table, you could always make one!) and showcase the food that will be there on Thanksgiving day. Two of my favorite parts!

Come back tomorrow for another clever couple of crafts!

Astrid’s Shield plus a FREE PDF for you!

As promised, here is the shield we made for the Astrid costume.


This took all three of us to make. My husband cut a piece of foam core into a circle, then Falafel painted it red and found that Ball jar lid for the center. When it was dry, I painted the details on and glued the lid on. We then took two brads and stuck them through the front to hold on a piece of webbing for the handle (on the back).


It was fairly easy to do, and it makes her happy. Since there is a “no weapons at school” policy (even fake ones), she cannot carry her battle axe, but she can carry this!


Also, as a treat for you, my husband made PDF files of the pattern pieces to construct the shoulder armor. Just click on the links to print them out. Assemble them in order. Once you have all the pieces lined up, connect them at the ends with whatever you want (we used brads).


PDF file A

PDF file B

Oh! AND be sure to check your inboxes. It is Friday Newsletter time!

Juice Pouch Wallet Tutorial for SWB


Today I am bringing home a tutorial I did for SWB for their Camp Sewing with Boys series. Even though I don’t have boys to craft with, I made a tutorial anyone can do- regardless of their gender! First, you are going to need to collect a few things for this project:

Duct Tape Juice Pouch Wallets


You will need:

  • 2 empty juice pouches
  • duct tape
  • scissors
  • velcro (not pictured above)

Start by cutting across the top of each juice pouch (where the straw goes), wash, and allow to dry.

Now it is time to cut the duct tape into strips.


You will need 4 shorter strips (the length of the shortest sides of the pouch- approx. 4″each) and 2 longer strips (the length of the longest sides-approx. 6″each). I cut them to size and then halved them by making a small slit, and ripping the tape. It ripped in a straight line every time.


Lay the tape on the table, sticky side up, and place the pouch edge on top of it.


Now fold up the tape. Repeat for the bottom of pouch. You will want to leave one pouch top not taped.


They should look like this. Now, trim off the excess tape.


Take the pouch with the two ends taped, and fold like this:


You will want the side that faces the correct way to be slightly lower than the other side.


Take the other pouch and insert it like the photo above, with the untaped side inside.


At the crease, place your last 4″ piece of tape to keep the two pouches together.


This is how it should look on the other side.


Fold up the upside down end, and tape the long sides now, so it forms a pouch.


Make sure to trim the excess tape.


If you have velcro dots, make sure to follow the instructions on the package. Take both dots and place them together (sticky sides facing out) and stick them on the flap. Then press down so they also stick to the body of the wallet.


Our dots needed to set for 24 hours closed and untouched.


After that, you are done. You can use your wallet!

*My tip on collecting juice pouches when your family doesn’t drink them: ASK EVERYONE! Camps, schools, family members, friends. It is amazing how many we collected after we started asking around. People actually saved them. We ended up with about 200!

Natural Painting

I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend (for those in the U.S.).


The local Art Museum (which is all sorts of awesome…and FREE) had a class going on, open to anyone who wanted to paint with natural dyes.


It was a lot of fun.


Both of the girls actually participated (and me too). Falafel got to use a mortar and a rock and pounded up her very own paint using flowers mixed with water and a little baking powder. That was the most fun for her.


They also had some available that they boiled ahead of time. Cabbage and onion skins were among the most popular colors. Very similar to what we have used to dye our Easter eggs!


I never thought of using them to paint! Really brilliant. The paints were like using watercolors, which essentially they were.


I am filing this activity away for a rainy day (we have plenty of those coming up)! I love the thought of going through our kitchen cabinets and finding natural ingredients to paint with, and my little mad scientist loves to mix things up. Perfect!

What did YOU do this weekend?

Simple thing to keep our mornings moving

My youngest is slow in the mornings. And the afternoons. And every time in between. Time management is not one of her strong points.

She tends to tune me out when I tell her what to do, and honestly, I get exhausted and frustrated repeating myself 150 times per chore. And even though she wakes up 1.5 hours before we actually have to go, there never is enough time.

She is, however, really responsive to charts and pictures that she can physically check off.

To make our school mornings (and afternoons) run smoothly, I have made two charts for her.


One for the Mornings


And one for the Afternoons


I cut a piece of poster board in thirds and only used two. I kept the drawings very simple with a few words for each. On the bottom of the Morning Chart is a water log, because she tends to get dehydrated very easily. This way, we know how much she has consumed each day.


For $2.00 each (they are each half the width of our fridge where they now live), I had them laminated, and now she can mark off each item with a dry erase marker, and start fresh by erasing it for the next day.


So far, it has been really effective! I just tell her to check her chart when I find her drifting.

There is so much to fit in one day, and for a child who just cannot focus on the task at hand, this is a sanity saver.

What gets everyone where they need to be in your house?

Painted Mandala Stone in the dark


The other night, there was a wind storm that knocked out our power for about 9 hours. I didn’t get the urge to paint until it was dark out (sheesh). So I took out my acrylics, got another big rock, lit a candle, and began.

Definitely trickier to do without bright light, but I think I may be getting better at it. Painting lends itself to meditation much better (for me at least) than sewing. I am constantly problem solving when I sew, which feels good to do, but it isn’t the same as dabbing dots on a stone.

What do you do to quiet your mind and be still?

Mandala Ocean Stone

While we were at the coast, we found these huge, beautiful, round, smooth, flat, stones.

They reminded me of something I saw a while ago, that I have wanted to try out. These incredible Mandala Stones by Elspeth McLean. If you haven’t seen them, you must. Go and check them out. She is incredible.

I wanted to make my own with one of the stones I found.

This is my very first attempt.


Not perfect by any means, and I am feeling my way through the process. I have some things figured out for the next one.


And Falafel brought back this largest long (about 10 inches long!) rock to paint.


She came up with this idea all on her own, and painted it all by herself. She loves her new baby.


I just coated them with some clear varnish, after they were dry, and called it good.

I will be trying this again, as soon as I find some more round rocks! It was a great meditative process, that forced me to be still…which, honestly, I could use more of.

What have YOU tried today?

Simple recycled Back- to-School Pencil cup

Back-to-School time is approaching!! I repeat: BACK-TO-SCHOOL TIME IS APPROACHING!!

We are trying to squeeze a little more Summer out of this year, at the same time, trying to prepare for the kids going back to school. Shoe shopping, and supply lists, and brand new lunch bags.

As always, I like to do at least one quick project to get the school year off on the right foot.

We had this empty square Vegan Butter container that I just rinsed out the night before that looked perfect for me to use. I quickly gathered up some materials we have on hand, and got to work making a very quick, very large pencil/pen/marker container for Falafel’s desk.


Gather Supplies


Mix water and glue in a small container. It should be slightly thinner than yogurt. Then paint it all over the container you want to cover.


I used strips of fabric to cover mine. Strips of paper also work well (magazine pages, book pages, colored paper, scrap book paper, etc). Just paint the glue mixture all over the scraps and smooth them out as you go.


Allow to dry. Insert favorite school supplies!




*Tip: If you are going to try this, and your fabric or paper is lighter weight, you may want to paint the container white first.

What are you making to help your kids go back to school?

Vintage Tin Basket


This lovely lady in my local BNP group, gave me this vintage metal basket. We both really couldn’t decide whether it was ugly or cool.


After looking it over, I decided to cover up some of the rusty spots with decoupage.




This was a pretty easy project. I had an old book that we use for just this very thing. Painted on some white glue/water mixture, ripped a piece of a page, place it where I wanted, and put more glue on top.

I did paint on a clear coat of polycrylic when it was all dry, to seal it.

I love it!

What have you transformed today?