Sunday, October 19, 2014

DIY India Playmat


Here is a play mat I made out of old scraps of felt and shirts.  We call it the "India play mat" and it is fairly easy to make and is a great DIY gift for Diwali.

If you don't want to sew, you could just cut the mountains and trees and grass and lake out of felt instead of fabric and place it on top of a larger piece of felt.  Or you could make the same play mat out of construction paper, poster board and glue.


I made a crow, parrot, monkey, cobra, cow, mouse and peacock out of felt for my kids to play with on the India play mat as well.  The animals are modeled off the ones in my Hindi/Marathi/Gujarati Book of Animals books so my older son also has fun matching them to the animals in those books.


This Thursday will be the last Diwali post for the year.  It's a couple Diwali lamp shaped snacks for kids or to serve at a Diwali party.
You can search this blog for "Diwali" or "India" to find more Diwali crafts and homemade gift ideas, including these.

Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts.  Coming up in the next few weeks: Lullaby Paints wall paints, chalkboard paints, a chalkboard mural, DIY chalkboards, a cardboard box craft, more DIY toys, green toy recommendations, and more info on green products.
And if you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books and YA novel, and my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Homemade Costumes: Mouse or Rat

On Monday I showed you how to make a pig costume or Wilbur, from Charlotte's Web.  Today we are making Templeton the rat, my son's Halloween costume.

I didn't have his gray sweatpants handy but with gray pants the mouse/rat costume looks great! 






I bought a $9 hoodie from the girl's section at Kohl's and cut out the following shapes from gray felt for the ears and tail.  By folding the felt this way for the ears, I get four identical shapes, or two pairs of ears.




I then sewed pink circles onto the ears, sewed the gray circles closed using a blanket stitch, and sewed the ears to the hood.



Then I folded the triangular tail in half and sewed it closed using a blanket stitch, sewed the tail to the bottom back of the sweatshirt, and then drew pink lines on the rat's tail


That does it for my Halloween posts for this year.  Be sure to check in next week for more Diwali crafts and snacks.
Our Fall felt board


Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts.  Coming up in the next few weeks: more DIY toys, green toy recommendations, and more info on green products.
And if you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books and YA novel, and my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Homemade Costumes: Pig



For my son's first Halloween, I made him a pig costume.  He was Wilbur from Charlotte's Web, and our dog was Charlotte thanks to an old spider costume we had bought her years earlier that she patiently wears for about ten seconds before shaking it off her body.

I bought a pink shirt, footie and hat set from Target's baby girl section for around $10.

Using pink fabric scraps, I cut out two pairs of triangles to serve as the ears, and sewed them to the pink hat.

I cut a strip out of the fabric and sewed the two ends together to make a snout.  I then cut out a circle for the end of the snout and sewed to black dots on it before sewing it onto one end of the cylinder.  I then sewed the other end of it to the hat.

Finally, I cut out a pair of spirals from the pink fabric and sewed it together to make a tail.  I sewed that to the butt of the pants.




I then took a black double thread and sewed a cobweb and the words "some pig" onto the torso.  The outfit already had a silver butterfly on its chest so I drew and sewed the web around it to make it look like the butterfly was in the cobweb.  If sewing isn't your thing, you can just use a Sharpie Stained fabric pen to draw the web and words on.

And since I'm all about re-using here (ahem, or lazy), we are re-using that costume on the baby this year and my older child will be Templeton.  So look back here Thursday for an easy rat costume.

Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts.  Coming up in the next few weeks: more DIY toys, including an Indian themed play mat, green toy recommendations, Homemade Halloween Costumes, and more info on green products.
And if you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books and YA novel, and my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Felt Krishna

Felt Hindu Gods make great Diwali gifts for young kids.  Here is how to make Krishna:

1.) Cut out the following felt pieces:

Note: the torso is in duplicate

2.) Using black thread doubled, sew two eyes and a mouth onto the front of the face, and red for the tikka.
3) Sew the two duplicate torso pieces together using a blanket or whip stitch.
4.) Fold the feet pieces in half and sew them together with a blanket or whip stitch.
5.) Sew the two yellow pants together using a blanket or whip stitch on the sides.  You will need to attach the torso at the waist to the pants and attach the feet at the points at the bottom of the pants.
6.) Use a running stitch to attach the hair to the back of the head.  
7.) Sew the yellow circle to the back of the hair and the triangle to the front to make the crown.
8.) Sew the three little pieces of green, yellow and blue, (in the upper left of the picture), to the front of the crown to make the peacock feather.
9.) Sew the two yellow bands to Krishna's wrists for his cuffs.
10.) To make the waist sash, sew the yellow piece, (pictured to the right of Krishna's waist), over the waist of the pants.  Then sew the three vertical scraps of felt (yellow, green and yellow) over the left side of the waist sash, at the smallest triangular point.
11.) Finally, sew the yellow sash diagonally over Krishna's right shoulder and you're all done!


Previous Indian Felt Characters (see pictures below):

For more Diwali themed posts and gift ideas, click here (pictures below):



Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts.  Coming up in the next few weeks: more DIY toys, including an Indian themed play mat, green toy recommendations, Homemade Halloween Costumes, and more info on green products.
And if you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books and YA novel, and my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25


















Sunday, October 5, 2014

Play Food Tutorial: Tea

I made quick, simple tea bags for my kids' play kitchen.
PlanToys tea set with a wool felt teabag
I cut the tea bags out of wool felt and then did a running stitch to create the borders.
I then cut out shapes for the labels and sewed them together.
Finally, I cut some ribbon and sewed the two pieces to either end of the ribbon.
Front and back view of the teabags
They just took a few minutes to make and my son loves them.  If you don't want to sew, you could always use a hot glue gun to attach the ribbon to the bag and the label.

To see my earlier play food tutorials, click here:












Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts.  Coming up in the next few weeks: more DIY toys, green toy recommendations, Homemade Halloween Costumes, and more info on green products.
And if you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books and YA novel, and my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Diwali Cards


Instead of throwing out those old wedding invitations that pile in the mail in summer, I repurpose the religious ones into new cards for Indian holidays like Diwali.  Here are some that I have done, cutting up bits and pieces of several cards to make new ones.



  


Here are some tips that were originally posted with the article on making greeting cards out of wedding invitations:

1.) Pay attention to weight.  You don’t want to make your cards too heavy and end up paying more than standard postage for them.  I bought a box of A2 envelopes and keep all my cards small enough to fit in there.  The size limitation helps limit the card’s weight as well.

2.) I try to use as much of the original card as possible.  You can break apart envelopes and remove the decorative lining.  And in cards with a lot of writing on them, you can always cut around the words to get nice borders.

3.) I glue cards together, written side facing in, to get a blank surface to work on. Occasionally this isn’t possible so I use cardstock instead. 

4.) If you’re reusing the thinner invitations that feel pulpy, Elmer’s glue will show through most of them, and sometimes soak through the thin paper too.

And with Diwali just a few weeks away, here are some more of my Diwali related posts:
Diwali rangoli
Diwali bunting
How to make Lakshmi, Ganpati, Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Ravan, Parvati, Shiva and Kartikeya out of felt
Upcycling old wedding invitations into greeting cards
Indian themed card table fort
Indian play food









 Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts.  Coming up in the next few weeks: more DIY toys, DIY costumes, (including Wilbur from Charlotte's Web), green toy recommendations, and more info on green products.

And if you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books and YA novel, and my blog posts on The Huffington Post.

Follow me on Twitter @soups25