Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter Felt Board - Dress-Up Snowman

I made a simple winter felt board for my kids by cutting out a snowman and accessories out of felt.

Here is the snow-woman dressed in a sari:

And here are some other looks:




Snow-mermaid:


This is a quick, no-sew project that you can bring out every winter for the felt board.

Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more info on green toys and products and more DIY toys.  
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, January 21, 2015

Klean Kanteen 10 oz. cups


How much do we love Klean Kanteen in my house?  
Well, my 2.5 year old started jumping for joy when I opened a box and took out Klean Kanteen's new 10 oz. cup from inside.

Note: I received complimentary cups for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

The new 10 oz. cups

We have been using Klean Kanteen products for a couple years now.  They are responsibly made in China and are free of BPA and lead.  You can see more information about what they are made of here.  Their stainless steel bottles are unlined, so there is no worry of plastic or aluminum leaching into your drinks.  They make water bottles in lots of sizes, (I love their 12 oz. bottles, as they are small enough to fit in a diaper bag, and are great for kids at restaurants,) insulated water bottles, made with a double wall of stainless steel, canisters and more.




But what we use daily are their cups.  Since we skipped sippy cups and just gave my son a regular stainless steel cup to drink from as a toddler, we were on the look out for a great stainless steel cup.  The traditional Indian ones we had had a sharp lip to them, and since my son, at the time, was chewing on the mouth of the cup a bit, I didn't want him to cut himself.  
So we finally decided to use Klean Kanteen 16 oz. cups.

They were the perfect alternative to plastic for us.  My son used them at every meal and we kept one upstairs for those late night drinks of water.  We felt safe knowing it wasn't glass and wouldn't break if it were dropped.  And the curled lip of the cup eliminated any worries for us of him getting hurt on the mouth of the cup.

  The only thing we wished we could change was the size.
Several readers also asked me if the cups were available in a smaller size when I first posted about them.

Time to rejoice, Klean Kanteen fans.  The 10 oz. cups are here.

The 16 oz. pint cup next to the new 10 oz. cup
These cups offer all the benefits that the 16 oz. cup offers.  No BPA, no lead, no plastic or aluminum lining, dishwasher safe, nestable for easy stacking and storing, and now it's a great size for tiny hands too.

Like their website states, there are plenty of uses for this cup.  It isn't just for kids:

My kids were so excited to try out their new cups.  
Like I do with all my Kanteens, I initially washed the cups, then did a vinegar soak, as detailed in Klean Kanteen's FAQs, and then washed them again and we were ready to go.  (There was a slight outline of the removed label on the cup but it isn't really noticeable and will probably fade over some washes).
My kids proudly drink from their new cups at all their meals.  It was even easier than the 16 oz. cups for them to handle.

We also recently used all our 16 oz. cups and the two 10 oz. cups at a birthday party for my youngest.  It was a great way to "go forth and refuse single-use," as the label states on the cup.  Since the cups stack, they don't take up a lot of space on the counter and make it easy for guests to grab their drink-ware.  I will definitely be buying more of these cups for our family.

Where to purchase:
The cups are available for purchase in 4 packs or as single cups.  In addition to Klean Kanteen's website, the 10 oz. cup and other Klean Kanteen products can be found on Amazon.

Connect with Klean Kanteen Here:

Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more info on green toys and products and more DIY toys.  
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, January 18, 2015

Indian Play Food: Another Samosa

In my first post on Indian play food, I showed you how to make a samosa out of cotton fabric.  (I picked cotton fabric for our play food from the fabric store that did not say it is suitable for sleepware, thus ensuring it hadn't been sprayed with flame retardant).
This time I decided to make some out of felt.
For this easy play food samosa, just cut two identical triangles of tan felt and blanket stitch two sides together. 
Then stuff the triangles with cotton scraps or felt scraps.
To make it look like some potato and peas filling is peeping out of the samosa, just place some green and yellow scraps along the third edge and blanket stitch the samosa shut.
Finally, get some scraps of light green and brown felt and sew them to one corner of the samosa to look like it has been dipped in chutneys.
This just takes a few minutes and your samosa is done!

For my earlier post on rotis and other Indian play food, click here.
And for the previous week's posts on how to make a masala dosa and idli sambar out of felt, click here. 

Here are links to my previous posts on felt food:


Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more info on green toys and products and more DIY toys.  
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, January 14, 2015

Green Toys: Fine Motor Skills

Here are some neat, green toys that use fine motor skills.
1.) PlanToys Geo Beads are a great early stringing toy.  Although I always supervise my son when he is playing with this toy, because of the string, it is nice to know there is a safety mechanism where a little plastic piece in the center of the string can be snapped in half to break apart to prevent strangulation.


The PlanToys Abacus is a good tool for counting, addition and subtraction but can also help develop fine motor skills earlier as kids try to maneuver the little beads.  The strings are some sort of synthetic material and I am not sure how they will hold up to tough pulling so I kept this toy away from my kids when they were too young to play gently with it.

Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more info on green toys and products and more DIY toys.  This Thursday I will post the last of the new Indian play food items: a felt samosa.
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, January 11, 2015

Indian Play Food: Idli Sambar

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial last week on making a felt masala dosa.  To make a felt version of idli sambar, you just need white felt and a brown or rust colored scrap of felt for the sambar.

Start by cutting two identical white circles:


Stuff it with scraps of fabric and sew them together with a blanket stitch:


Then take your sambar scrap and double thread a needle.  I used a dark brown for cumin and mustard seeds and red for specks of chili powder.




And with that, the idli sambar is done!

Check back next week for a samosa tutorial.

Here are links to my previous posts on felt food:
Indian Food - roti, mattar paneer and a samosa

Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more info on green toys and products and more DIY toys.  
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, January 7, 2015

Indian Play Food: Masala Dosa

I was so honored to have made Apartment Therapy's list of Felt Food Tutorials with my previous post on how to make Indian play food.  The timing was perfect, as I had just finished making some more Indian play food for my kids.  This time, I focused on South Indian food, and another way to make a samosa.  (Look for the post on the samosa and one on idli sambar in the coming weeks).


To make the masala dosa, I started off with a scrap of tan felt that could look like a dosa when folded.  You can use a circle if you have enough felt.  Here is what I used:

I knew I could just hide the weird cut on the right by folding it under the rounded edge on the left.
Next I got some yellow scraps for my potato filling and a green one to look like cilantro or pepper, and sewed the green felt onto the yellow.  I then used a double thread of brown to make a couple long cumin stitches and a double thread in red to make some red chili specks, and my masala was done.
All I had to do next was sew the potato filling into the dosa.  I did so with tan thread so it wouldn't show on the outside of the dosa, with a running stitch.
Then I folded the dosa the way I wanted it to look and used a blanket stitch with tan thread to hold it in place and the masala dosa was done and ready for my kids to play with in their play kitchen!

Coming up:
A felt samosa


idli sambar (and the masala dosa)

Here are links to my previous posts on felt food:


Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more info on green toys and products and more DIY toys.  
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, January 4, 2015

No-Sew Starry Night Background


This was an easy no-sew background for pretend play.

All I did was cut a piece of cardboard from an old box and wrap a piece of felt around it.  By propping the backdrop against a wall, there was no need to sew anything.




I then cut stars out and because felt sticks to felt, I just put the stars on the background and it was done!  It's a fun background for our woodland village, and other play scapes that I rotate out on the table.  If you want to have more variety you could even cut out a rainbow, clouds, a sun, or storm clouds, rain and lightning out of felt and just put them on the felt background.





Check back every Monday and Thursday for new posts, including more info on green toys and products and more DIY toys.  
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