Please welcome Laura from Craftstorming.
First, I just want to say that I think that Laura's blog name is fantastic, and with all of the different things she does on it, it's really the perfect name! I first found Laura last Spring during KCWC when she made this adorable hoodie for her son Rowan. Later, we both had a chance to participate in Katy's Once Upon a Thread series and again Laura made something adorable and waterfowl inspired! Since then I have been amazed at the variety and quality of crafting she does from macaroons to party favors. Not to mention she just finished up her own blog series this month, Sew Yummy, where she combined two of her favorite hobbies, sewing and baking with some very fun results. Today, Laura shares a story from her older son and a very yummy craft to go with it.
Hello Buzzmills readers. I am so pleased to be joining you for Make It Up today. I have two young boys and, although we have always read lots of books together, making up stories is something we have only just started to do. Prior to that my eldest enjoyed telling jokes that didn't quite make sense. We've been working on today's story for a while and Casper is really starting to love it. To start with I would have to encourage him but now he asks if we can make up more stories, so it's definitely something I see us continuing. I decided it would be fun for us to make the characters of the story in marzipan. You could use playdough or modelling clay if you'd prefer something that's not edible. Rowan, my youngest, was napping while we made these, otherwise I think a lot more marzipan would have been consumed. So here is how the story goes...
Adding detail with an edible pen to a bunch of bananas
Adding Tom Monkey's eyes
Casper Elephant waits patiently for the paddling pool
The elephants get ready to board the plane. They like bananas too. On the right is a sand castle.
Casper making lots of bananas
As you can see Casper's story is a little bit random but all of it relates in some way to things that have happened to him recently, except the monkey and elephant bit of course. His story changes every time he tells it but always starts with the monkeys. He absolutely loved playing with the marzipan - it kept him entertained for over two hours and he can't wait to do it again. He didn't have any qualms about eating the monkeys and elephants afterwards though. I think mixing story telling with crafts is such a fantastic way to feed children's imaginations. What a wonderful idea for a series. Thank you for having me Jane.
What a great story Casper! I love how often times children tell such tall tails but draw on what and who they know at the same time. Also, I've got to say that having a mom who lets you mold and make and then eat is pretty awesome! Those little monkeys, elephants and bananas are so cute. You guys did such a great job, I especially like that Casper is learning some of his mama's skills here too, just like you, Laura, learned some skills from your mother. Thanks for stopping by and joining the storytelling fun!
*We've got one more story to share tomorrow! And then, don't forget the linky for your stories and crafts opens tomorrow and runs through the weekend! Link up and share what you've been telling and making and at the same time enter for a chance to win Show Me A Story: 40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children’s Storytelling. You can find out more details here. I can't wait to see what you've been up to and hope that you have been enjoying all of the amazing stories and crafts so far!
Please welcome Jenny and Angel from Stumbles and Stitches.
Again, I should thank the lovely Rachael for introducing me to Jenny and Angel and Stumbles and Stitches...First of all, Jenny and Angel are two of the sweetest people, seriously, they are just so nice and thoughtful and sweet and it shows in their blog posts back and forth to each other. Second of all, they are both quite talented(both have etsy shops too: Angel, and Jenny)! This summer, just in time for National Honey Bee day, Angel posted a tutorial for an adorable beehive ornament, which, I made immediately (literally!) because I liked it so much! Earlier this summer Jenny posted her own adorable Christmas ornament during their Christmas in July series. They have many more tutorials to share on their blog, but while I have you on Christmas list ideas, here's a great gift idea. And, lastly, they share a similar love of nature and reuse that I do. Today, these two penpal bloggers are getting their sons in on the penpal action!
Jenny: Hello Buzzmills readers, and thank you Jane for inviting us to participate in Make It Up! Angel and I have known each other for many years. In fact, she was one of my very first mom friends. Our eldest boys Ian and Ben saw each other quite frequently in the few years my family lived in Nashville and got along famously. Since my family moved to Seattle, Angel and I have tried our best to keep the boys connected (just like their mothers with our blog!) despite time and distance. Now that the kids are old enough (Ben is 5 and Ian is 7), Angel suggested that we encourage them to become penpals. I loved the idea! This would help develop their friendship to a deeper level, and in this internet age, it is such fun to get real mail too! During our last visit to Nashville, Ian introduced Ben to the world of comic books. A little idea germinated from there. I thought they could perhaps have a penpal project: a co-written comic book. Ben would write and draw the first page, send it to Ian along with a letter, then Ian would write the next page and send it back, and so on. Ben loved the idea and promptly got to work. We downloaded some comic book pages from the website DonnaYoung.com which provides plenty of templates.
I wanted the creative process to be very kid-driven, so I only suggested to Ben that the story be about him and Ian, and that he leave it open-ended for Ian to continue it. We play a lot of "relay" story-telling during long car drives, where each person takes a turn making up part of a story then hands the imaginary baton to the next person. That helped him understand the concept. Armed with markers and plenty of ideas, he started drawing "The Adventures of Ben and Ian". Comic books are unique in their approach to story-telling, as you can provide the omniscient narrator voice in captions, sound effects in large lettered onomatopoeias, as well as individual character voices in bubbles. This was great fun to figure out and definitely encouraged Ben to think out of his usual box ("then I did this, then he did that"). He planned out what he wanted each box to say and how, then dictated captions and bubbles to me at the computer. We then printed, cut and glued them on the corresponding images.
Here is the first page of "The Adventures of Ben and Ian": The next step for Ben was to create a cover page for the comic book (also downloaded from DonnaYoung.com).
Goofball! And finally, Ben wrote Ian a letter to accompany the comic book pages (or rather, dictacted it to me at the computer, then signed it by hand). The letter provided an explanation of the comic book creation process ("Ian, what's it going to be about? Dragons or an aadvark or birds or an old person knitting?") as well as a brief and hilarious update on Ben's life. The stuff penpalship is made of!
We put everything in the mail to Ian, along with various blank comic book pages (and some fabric for his mama, ha!). Ben is so excited to receive the next page from his buddy in the mail! And now... I will pass the baton to Angel so she can tell us about the penpal comic book process from her end!
Angel: Thanks Jen! This was such a fun project, and I was so impressed by what Ben sent to us. His imagination is incredible! Ian loved getting mail, too (who doesn't?) and in this world of email and texting, I think it's fun to encourage "snail mail" in the younger generation. Plus, what a great way for the two boys to nurture their own long distance friendship. Ian has a long history of making books. I'll have to get out his collection (that I've squirreled away in the attic) and show it to you in a separate post. He loves making comics almost as much as he loves reading them! So this idea was perfect for him. Ian can sometimes get overwhelmed by his own imagination when working on stories. Also, he worries a lot about it being "just right" (a byproduct of school work, I hate to say). The comic book page set-up, with its boxes and consistent format, seems to narrow things down for him and usually makes for stress-free writing. I will hold off on sharing photos of Ian's page until Ben receives it! What a teaser, but I don't want to give too much away! He is so excited to send it back to Ben. I can't wait to see where this goes, thank you so much Jen for getting this going. If you guys are curious about how "The Adventures of Ben and Ian" will unfold, please come visit our blog Stumbles & Stitches with an update on the Penpal Comic Book next week! Thank you so much Jane for inviting us to participate in Make It Up. What a lovely idea and wonderful series!
I love this idea Jenny and Angel! Reading this made me think that this might be a great way for Violet and one of her preschool friends, who is now in kindergarten, to stay connected since they don't see each other as often. Ben did an amazing job on his story and I can't wait to see Ian's side of the story! I'm sure the boys are getting such a kick out this. So fun to have two sets of penpallers in your homes now! Thanks again for joining in the fun, all of you. I hope you had fun "making it up"!
Please welcome Brad. Let me first just say that Brad is about to tell you that he is not very crafty, pshaw! Yes, he is! Maybe, he doesn't know how to use a sewing machine, but he can make himself a belt, and he can even sew on a new button all by himself! All joking aside, he can hold his own around here. Let me also say, that having someone in your own home working on a guest blog post for your blog is tough! It's tough to not intervene too much, and it's tough because you worry that they might show you up (ha, ha). Well, as you will see, he did show me up, he beat me at my own game, but he also gave the kiddos a fantastic new toy that, I imagine, will be around for quite some time!
It’s great to be making my first appearance here at Buzzmills, having spent the last year and a half peering over Jane’s shoulder. I should start by saying that any expectations about my craftiness based on who I married should be checked at the door. If there’s a talent that's earned me entry here, it's my ability to laze about in a hammock daydreaming and call it parenting. I actually have my suspicions that this entire Make It Up exercise is an elaborate scheme to get me to man up and use the scroll saw that Jane and the kids gave me for Christmas. If that's the case, it worked, but we'll get to that. First, our story... It's one that Violet and I started in the hammock back when she was three and still haven’t finished.
It began like this...
There’s a farm. Up until recently, it was just a small ordinary farm. It didn't even have a name. There was nothing particularly special about it. At least that is what the family that lives on the farm thought. They’re a family of five. There’s the mom (Marigold), the dad (Joseph), the eldest son (Joe Jr. - you can call him Jo Jo), the daughter Juniper, and the youngest son (Moss).
On this farm, there was a tree. It was one of those scenic solitary trees that farms tend to have. It sat on top of a hill, watching over the grazing cows and keeping time for the family. When the sun dropped low enough to peek through the tree's broad branches, you knew it was time to come in, wash up, and sit down for dinner. Juniper, who has quite an imagination, spent hours sitting against the tree dreaming up stories. That is, of course, until the storm.
A lightning bolt struck the tree and brought it crashing to the ground. The family was sad. Juniper was really sad. But Marigold had an idea. She told Juniper they could take a small branch from the fallen tree and make a sapling. When it was big enough, she could plant it near where the old tree had been. She gave Juniper an old pot from the kitchen. She told her to fill it with dirt and stick a branch from the old tree inside. They kept the sapling on the front porch, where Juniper watered it everyday. It grew fast and soon Marigold told Juniper that it was time to plant it.
"Just pick a spot, dig a hole, drop it in, and cover it back up with dirt".
But Marigold had forgotten one thing. She didn’t tell Juniper to take the sapling out of the pot before putting it in the ground. Juniper put the whole thing, pot and all, in the hole and covered it up with dirt. Even still, it grew. And it grew fast. So fast that Joseph just stared at it, scratched his head, and swore he'd never seen anything quite like it.
By spring the new tree was as big as the old tree had ever been. One day the kids were out in the fields doing their chores. Juniper wandered off to have a sit by the tree. When she got there, she realized that something magical had happened. The tree had bloomed, not with fruit or flowers, but with pots... and pans... and plates... And knives... and forks... and spoons... even napkins!
Juniper ran to tell her brothers. Jo Jo assumed she was just making up one of her stories and shirking on her chores, but Juniper insisted that they come look. After staring in amazement at the tree for a long time they ran to tell their father.
"Nonsense,” said Joseph and went back to fixing the tractor.
They ran to their mother. "Oh, is that so?" She said. “Hmm. If that’s the case. Why don’t we eat out by this supper tree of yours. You kids go get things ready and we’ll meet you there at sunset.”
The kids did just that. They hurried back to the tree, bringing a ladder with them. They picked the pots, pans, and utensils they’d need for the dinner. They picked some vegetables from a nearby garden. Jo Jo lit a fire and dinner was nearly finished cooking by time Joseph and Marigold arrived at the tree dumbfounded. Everyday since then the family has met at The Supper Tree at sunset. Now, they also stop to listen whenever Juniper tells them that “something magical happened.”
...And so began the story of The Supper Tree Farm. It turns out the tree was just the beginning of the magic. Since then, Violet, Henry, and I have discovered woodland fairies living on the outskirts of the farm, a tiny dragon that cooks, monsters that hatch from pumpkins, and most recently an underground castle that promises to be full of surprises. The truth is anything can happen at The Supper Tree Farm, as long as there's a bit of magic involved.
Violet and I have talked for a while about actually making a Supper Tree. Make It Up, left me little choice, which brings me to the aforementioned scroll saw. This is a scroll saw (I didn’t know what one was either.) It’s basically a jigsaw, but more intimidating, and you move the wood instead of the saw. I used it to cut the shape of the tree from a 3/4 inch thick board.
After a lot of debate about the best way to make it stand up and with some help, I notched a hole for a three inch board. We sanded. We stained. We painted. Now for the magic part... and what’s more magic than velcro. We took some old-fashioned dollhouse pots, pans, plates, and utensils that we found on Etsy, and stuck them to the tree with velcro dots. Voila... a Supper Tree.
Thank you much for sharing Brad! Thank you for giving us a great story to build and build. Thank you for being an inspiration for Make it up. Thank you for FINALLY using your Christmas gift. Thank you for being so creative. Thank you for showing me up on my own blog. Oh, and thank you for all of your amazing support over this year and a half and thanks for agreeing to be part of it, even if you were wishing you hadn't said yes (Oh, wait, I didn't give you a choice!)
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