Saturday, November 29, 2014

Felt Pine Tree Forest With Snow-Capped Trees


I decided to make a forest of pine trees for my handmade nesting Woodland Village.  This was a simple project that just involved cutting semi circles out of felt, bending them into a conical shape, and then sewing the ends together.




I cut smaller, wavy semi-circles out of white felt that can be stacked on the pine trees as snow or that can rest on the ground by themselves as white trees.



It took just a couple minutes to make and made the woodland village come together nicely. 

Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts.  Coming up in the next few weeks: more DIY toys, (including the felt mountain pictured between the trees above, the multicolored trees seen in the very first picture of this post, and the starry night backdrop also seen there), info on green toys and products and more chalkboard paint projects featuring Lullaby Paints.


Follow me on Twitter @soups25


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November Felt Board


A few months ago I made a low-cost felt board out of an old Seventh Generation diaper box.



Since then, we have been fun using our felt board to learn about animals, seasons, plants and much more.  For November I decided to go with the theme of gratitude.  Since my son is just 2.5, I don't know how much of this he gets, but we have always tried to teach him to be thankful for what he has.  
Before every meal, we have him say, "Thank you cows for the milk.  Thank you calves for the milk.  And thank you farmers for the grains, lentils, vegetables and fruit."  It's a small thing but it is a good reminder that food doesn't just show up on your plate and that people toiled in order for you to eat and calves lost their lives and cows gave you the milk meant for their own babies.  I find it to be a good reminder for myself as well.

So for November, I just cut out hearts and numbered them 1-30 for each day in November.  Every morning when we go to the felt board, my son says what he is grateful for and puts the heart up.  Highlights include "cooking," "Trader Joe's," and "the felt board."



He may be a little young for this but he still enjoys doing it and hopefully with each November it will have more and more meaning for him and my baby.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts.  Coming up in the next few weeks: more DIY toys,info on green toys and products and more chalkboard paint projects featuring Lullaby Paints.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mibo

My aunt in the U.K. sent me these neat organic tea towels by Mibo.  These tea towels can be cut and sewn into stuffed animals, following the simple directions printed on the towels themselves.





Following the directions, I cut the animals out, sewed them, (you can use a sewing machine or hand sew them), and stuffed them.  I used the leftover tea towel remnants to stuff the giraffe but the scraps from all three towels only filled the giraffe halfway, so I just used old cotton scraps to fill the rest of the giraffe, penguin and lion.


Once filled, you sew close the section that was left open for stuffing, and your stuffed animal is done.

Front view

Back view

Here's a video demonstration of how to make the lion.

The tea towels come in a wide variety of animals, including a fox, owl, squirrel, gorilla, orangutan and tiger.

This was a fun project that resulted in toys my kids really enjoy.  While I assume Mibo can be easily purchased in the U.K., there aren't many retailers selling it here in America, but you can find it on Amazon and at select online retailers.


Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts.  Coming up in the next few weeks: more DIY toys,info on green toys and products and more chalkboard paint projects featuring Lullaby Paints.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Green Toys: Barn Animals

PlanToys

My son loves the adorable PlanToys Farm Animals set.  Unfortunately, my dog does too.  She ate the head off the sheep and an ear off the mother cow.  I don't normally purchase leather products but I suspect I unintentionally did with this set, and the cow's ears are leather, since my dog was so attracted to them.  They are definitely not wood and may be synthetic leather.  Either way, thanks to my dog, the cow now just has one ear and our sheep lost its wooden head.  Since PlanToys didn't return my emails or calls, asking them how to purchase a replacement sheep, I ended up making a new head for the sheep out of wool felt that looked more like a donkey and thus "donkeep" was born.  The PlanToys set comes with a pig, a dog, (the only odd part of this set, in my opinion, since it doesn't really look like a dog), a mother cow and baby cow, and a sheep with removable velcro wool for shearing.  I found the cheapest deal on this set on Amazon last year.

Anamalz makes a line of poseable farm animals as well, available at amazon.com and other online retailers.  Anamalz are made out of Chinese Maple wood.  The waste from the manufacturing process is given to a local farm to grow mushrooms.  The glue is formaldehyde free, the fabric is AZO free, and the paint is child safe, according to their website.  Purchased individually, they're pricier than the PlanToys set but just as cute.  Zulily has them on sale a couple times a year, where the toys are bundled and end up being cheaper than Amazon for the most part.  You can learn more about them here.

Holztiger also makes a line of heirloom farm animals, like the large cow in the picture above.  Unlike Anamalz, which is made in China, Holztiger is made in Europe but again, these toys are more expensive than PlanToys' farm animals since you are purchasing them individually.

My son loves all these farm animals and we are happy to support these green companies by purchasing their products.

Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more info on green toys and products, DIY toys, and more posts on Lullaby Paints including their chalkboard paint, chalkboard stairs, and do it yourself chalkboards.  

Follow me on Twitter @soups25

Sunday, November 16, 2014

DIY Dinosaur Playmat with Storage Pocket and Dinosaurs


I made a dinosaur playmat out of an old cotton shirt and felt.  Here's how:

1.) Cut the sleeves off an old t-shirt.

This will become your storage pocket on the back of the playmat to hold the dinosaurs in.

2.) Cut the armpits out of the shirt and cut down the length of the two sides so you have two pieces like this:


One of these became my dinosaur playmat.  The other became a farm playmat that I will post next week.  3.) Sew the unfinished edges of the shirt by folding over a tiny bit of the material and then sewing over it.

4.) Sew one sleeve to the back of the playmat.  You just need to sew the three unfinished sides down, leaving the hemmed end of the sleeve at the top (seen near the t-rex's head).


5.) I made three dinosaurs out of felt.  I cut two of the same shape out for each of their bodies, (two T-Rexes, 2 Stegosaurus, 2 Sauropoda) and sewed the matching pieces together using a whip stitch.  You can also use a blanket stitch.  I just drew on their faces with a ballpoint pen.  You could use a Sharpie Fabric Marker too to make sure the color doesn't rub off.

6.) Finally, I cut out shapes to make volcanoes, foliage and a pond.  You can just attach it to the shirt with a simple running stitch or use a sewing machine for something a little sturdier for play.  And if sewing isn't your thing, you can just cut the landscape shapes out and lay them down on the background of the shirt.

Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more green toy and product recommendations, DIY toys, and more posts on Lullaby Paints including their chalkboard paint, chalkboard stairs, and do it yourself chalkboards.  

Follow me on Twitter @soups25

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

DIY Play Mat: Pond

I made a pond play mat out of felt and old cotton men's shirts that were not wrinkle-free, to ensure they did not contain any PFOAs.  The lilly pads are made from the same green shirt that I made seaweed from in the ocean play mat.  The reeds and lotuses are made from wool felt.
I cut out a pocket from the blue men's shirt and sewed it to the back of my mat so I'd have a place to store the toys and ensure they didn't get separated from the play mat.


I made a frog, duck, water snake and turtle for the play mat, leaving some lilies unattached on one side to allow the animals hiding spots during play.

This was yet another low cost, fun homemade toy that helps develop imaginations for children.  If you want to see more examples on this blog, you can search "DIY" in the search box on the upper right for fun homemade toys like a doctor's/vet's kit, play food, felt Hindu gods and mythological characters, a cardboard produce stand, card table forts, felt toys, other play mats and much more!






















Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more green toy and product recommendations, DIY toys, and more posts on Lullaby Paints including their chalkboard paint, chalkboard stairs, and do it yourself chalkboards.  

Follow me on Twitter @soups25


Sunday, November 9, 2014

DIY Cardboard Blocks


When we placed our large order for Lullaby Paints' zero VOC primer and wall, wood, and chalkboard paint, we didn't realize how many boxes we would be getting in the mail.

Those aren't even all the boxes.

It didn't feel right to recycle those boxes without getting more use out of them.  I looked at the white boxes and realized they would make perfect large scale cardboard blocks since they have a lid that tucks into the box to easily close.  And because they were white, we could paint them however we wanted to personalize them.  So my 2 year old son and I began painting a couple boxes a day with Crayola paint that was permanent and not washable, so hopefully the color won't rub off on our floor or kids' hands when they're playing with them.


Within a couple weeks, the boxes were done.







These simple boxes provided us with hours of fun as an art project when we painted and will now entertain the kids as blocks, until they fall apart.  It is a great way to give boxes used in shipping and packaging a few more incarnations before getting rid of them.





Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more green toy and product recommendations, DIY toys, and more posts on Lullaby Paints including their chalkboard paint, chalkboard stairs, and do it yourself chalkboards.  

Follow me on Twitter @soups25