a stitch in lime

stumbling into creativity


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Squishy sensory bags for the mess-phobic

So the entire Pinterest-parenting complex (new name I just made up: “Parenterest”; that’s a winner, people) is awash with ways to get your child into ‘sensory play.’ Working with children with disabilities and sensory needs means I work closely with Occupational Therapists (OTs) and see a lot of sensory play going on with my clients. And at work it’s all good. Things get messy, things get cleaned up, and the circle of life is complete. Om.

At home, it’s different. Because my husband and I are the cleaner uppers (and the everything elsers), and we do a lot of that cleaning up shit already and it’s all a bit much. Especially for him. I think he has a sub-clinical fear of mess. Some neurons in his brain fire in overdrive when he sees a dirty or messy child/situation that was entirely preventible. (Children who willfully throw food on the ground are his kryptonite, except they don’t weaken him so much as exasperate him on a whole new frequency.) So messy sensory play has to be my doing if it gets done at all, and to be honest I would much prefer minimal/no cleanup, myself. Enter sensory materials encased in a bag! Sensory bags!

You fill them with liquid or goop of some sort, you put some dazzling things inside, you seal that business up tight, and you give it to your kid to mush. No mess but most of the squishy experience. While little hands won’t get wet and goopy exploring in this way, they will still feel the weight, some of the texture/viscosity/malleability, and get to delight (yes, DELIGHT, I said it) in the colours, sparkles, lumps, or what-have-you inside.

Here are some I made yesterday.

A sparkly ocean-esque one. This one is filled with blue hair gel (get that at the dollar store so as to not waste any money on quality — it ain’t for your hair), some extra blue food colouring to jazz up the colour, a packet of blue sequins, a small packet of tiny pearl beads, and some blue/silver glitter.

This one is filled with yellowish body wash (again extra yellow food colouring for pizazz factor), some gold glitter, and some foam beads from the dollar store. They’re fairly thick beads which makes for good lumpy bits for little hands to move around.

And this one is red hair gel (amped up the colour here, too), silver glitter, and a packet of assorted googly eyes. All from the dollar store. Easy.

For each of the bags, I followed these steps:

  1. Insert materials (goop + fascinating things) into large freezer Ziplock bag
  2. Press all the air out and seal zipper tight
  3. Fold over zipper and tape down with clear packing tape & tape all four edges as well to reinforce
  4. Remove white Ziplock label with nail polish remover
  5. Insert into 2nd Ziplock bag, and again press out air, seal, and fold/tape down the zipped edge with packing tape
  6. Tape all four edges with duct tape (decorative is nice if you have access to it — I didn’t)
  7. Again remove label with nail polish remover
  8. Give it to your child who will delight in the sensory experience for under 10 minutes and then ignore it forever

Here are some ideas of things to fill your sensory bags with:

  • water
  • hair gel
  • aloe vera gel
  • body wash or shampoo
  • baby oil, food colouring, and water (the oil and coloured water don’t mix)
  • shaving foam
  • paint (for fun with colour mixing)
  • sand and water

More ideas can be found over at Mama OT’s comprehensive list. They’re pretty quick and satisfying little crafty projects, I have to say. Dump things in a bag and seal it up; can’t get much easier than that.

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The come-back post, featuring play-dough

Play-dough

Aaaayynd we’re baaaaaayck!

I never left, really. Just the posts did. I got a grown-up career job, and while it’s part-time, it is somehow consuming all my time and energy. So! That all makes for lousy bloggerly dedication in a hurry. Because my only moments of free time now are spent with a bag of kettle corn in my lap watching old episodes of The Simpsons. That’s the amount mental energy I’ve got left, chicken.

But the good news is, it’s almost Christmas which means that cultural and social forces are motivating me to get a bloody crafty move-on! At last! Despite my lack of time, I am forcing myself to put my report-writing work away in the evenings and make some shit. Last night I made play-dough for Baby A, who really should now be more appropriately named Toddler A. Here’s how it turned out:

Play-dough

I made it using this no-cook recipe (there are many out there on the webs) after we saw it made that way at a local baby group and it turned out perfectly playdoughy before my very own eyes. Plus it looked easy and I basically had all the stuff anyway. (‘Cept that dang white flour, which I had to pick up from the store last night and ended up covering myself in said dang white flour, as is inevitable when handling a bag of flour. What’s with that, anyway? Surely we as a civilization possess the technology necessary to produce a sealed flour bag.)

Play-dough

I split the batch into four equal sized heaps and then coloured each bit separately so my son would have a few colours to play with. I used 15 drops of food colouring (red, blue, yellow, and green) for each ball, and the colours are pretty vibrant. I made sure to wear rubber gloves when working the first bit of the food colouring in. Once it was more well-dispersed I ditched the gloves because they were annoying and sweaty.

This was really easy to make. The hardest part was kneading the colour in, but once I gave my hands a break and just smashed it and smooshed it into the counter over and over again, even that part was easy.

So! You should make this, too! Or whatever else you want to make. What are  you making for Christmas gifts this year, anyway?


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Extreme crafting: Reproductive edition

(source)

Well, folks, it’s true!  I am having me a baby-friend. Well, my husband and I are both having us a baby-friend, but I’m primarily in charge of the cooking process, as it were.

Said baby is set to make an appearance in mid-July, and things have been going quite well with the pregnancy so far. I’ve been tired, had the odd bout of queasiness/”get that food away from me or I might barf,” but nothing really worthy of too much complaint. We had a listen to the fetus’ heartbeat at our last midwife appointment, which was pretty awesome (in the original definition of the term, not just, like, how socks and hotdogs are awesome). Now I am just waiting for the first flutters of movement, which I sometimes think I can feel when I’m laying really still and hallucinating as hard as I can, but nothing definitive has rolled or bumped or fluttered or kicked or fizzled in a special way… yet.

This is all very exciting!  Aside from the obvious, life-changing craziness of it all, now my overzealous and somewhat poorly prioritized baby knitting/crafting from the last year or so will be put to good use with a real life tiny human of our very own!  Also, stay tuned for more posts in the next few months showing off all the things I will be to making for this baby (when I’m not passing out on the couch at 7pm).  We won’t be finding out the baby’s gender, so I’ll be trying to keep things gender-neutral as much as possible.

Bring on the next 5 months!


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I’m so famous, guys.

I love CraftGossip.comI was featured yesterday in the stamping section of Craft Gossip!  I had no idea this even happened (my Google Reader says I’m upwards of 250 posts behind on my Craft Gossip feed… which, if any of you read CG regularly, you know that’s about… oh, a day or two’s worth?) until I started getting a bunch of (lovely) comments on my wedding tree guestbook post!  Jean from Quilted Cupcake even said she was gonna talk about featured my project in her crafty podcast! Oh em gee. Check it out:

Quilted Cupcake Podcast, Episode 38 – hear Jean’s description of my wedding tree project and general shout-out action at about 31:26!

I know this is probably very small beans for most of the way more accomplished craft bloggers out there, but it’s all kinds of cool for me!  Happy day!


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Work? What?

Blogging is hard. Or rather, remembering to blog is hard. Or even still, having the inspiration to both make something and blog about it is hard. It takes up a lot of free time!  Free time I suddenly have almost none of.  Why?  Well I done went and got myself a real grown-up job!  It’s true!  My job description no longer involves knitting all day while listening to podcasts (goodbye, old friends!), and now involves waking up early, making my lunches well in advance, and applying my brain and hands in completely different ways. Ways that are useful, but certainly do not result in me getting to parade little handmade baby clothes around and go “Squeeeee! I made this!” (To give you a hint, me and the computer are BFFs at work.)

Being suddenly thrust into the 9-5 was quite a shock to my system!  And my system is still getting a handle on what happened. And being that my system is still in shock mode, it has not allowed me to do any real crafting to speak of for the last couple of weeks. Yikes! I fear that my crafting will have to be on the back burner for a while. I won’t stop entirely, I will just be much slower to finish projects. This is sad in a way, but also good. I had a good stint of unemployment there, during which I made stuff at a record pace. Now that’s over, and I think this is a good opportunity to remind myself that I can’t do it all!  I have to give myself permission to feel totally fine about only getting to my knitting once a week on craft night, because I just can’t even muster the motivation to pick it up most days when I get home from work. That’s just the reality of working full time. As lovely as it can be to be involved and actively thinking/doing all day and making money and feeling productive, it takes up a lot of mental (and sometimes physical) energy.

When I first started blogging, I made a mental goal of blogging every other day — blogs that are rarely updated don’t generally get read, right? But then that shifted to every 3 days, every 4 days, every 5 days even… Now I’m looking at once a week as a reasonable goal. I don’t want this blog to fall right off my radar entirely, but I think more occasional crafting (and thus more occasional blogging) is just going to be my reality for the next while. I’ll try my best, but sometimes trying my best also means treating myself to an early bedtime or a nap or a laze on the couch.