Amazing Loom Knits: A Net Galley Review

When I was young my great-grandmother taught me to knit the traditional way. I have a faint memory of how to knit, but I was never very good at it. I loved the idea of loom knitting and bought a set for myself from a local store. I have made a simple hat and scarves using the looms, but that was all I thought they were for. Little did I know just how many amazing creations could be made with either round or square looms! 

This book is full of simple instructions to follow for each of the 30 patterns. Everything from hats to scarves to mittens to socks is represented here in beautiful detail. I was thrilled to discover a wide variety of simple stitches can be used! 

The fiber arts can be daunting and feel overwhelming when you first begin. The author, Nicole F. Cox, does an excellent job of giving precise yarn types as well as the specific supplies needed. Special stitches are clearly explained, even if they may take some time to master.

I am personally excited to try my hand and making the Highland Ear Warmers. I am definitely a beginner, and this simple pattern seems to be one I could manage. I also get very cold ears in the winter! I like that there are several color patterns shown as well as the optional flower adornment.

There are many fun patterns to choose from. If you are like me and have had some looms stashed away without much understanding of how to use them, this would be a great book to pick up and give a try. 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Crochet Cute Critters: A Net Galley Review

These adorable little critters are just the thing to get your creative fingers flowing! There is one “critter” for each letter of the alphabet! It’s really hard to pic a favorite as they are all simply precious! This book focuses on amigurumi, or the Japanese word for crocheting soft toys. It’s super fun to say and even a handy pronunciation guide right at the beginning!

I love the simplicity of these creatures and how they are based on very simple crochet stitches. You can begin with any of the critters you choose as they are based on the same principle pattern with just minor feature variations. I learned first to crochet snowflakes and doilies, but haven’t done any in a really long time. I was pleased how easy it was to pick this back up again after quite a few years to help my daughter learn some of the basic stitches. We used some practice yarn initially because she had never crocheted anything more than a chain of stitches before this. The basic ideas of these patterns have you building up to sculpt rather than out to make a large circle.

The hardest part seems to be attaching the various pieces (head, body, arms, and legs) together. Still, there are plenty of excellent photos illustrating the various techniques. All throughout the book there are several illustrations teaching how to stitch, stuff, and sew these adorable creatures.

Not matter which you choose to start with you can see these are some of the sweetest little stuffies you have ever laid eyes on! My daughter is really looking forward to working on several of these cute critters! Especially to give as gifts to our friends who have little ones!

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Field Trip: Home Depot Project

When free field trip opportunities come our way we jump at the chance. I’ve seen these projects at Home Depot advertised for a couple of years, but we hated to take one of the girls and not both. I thought this one looked like a lot of fun so my husband called to check on the ages and they said that even though there is a suggested age range, everyone is welcome! So we packed up the girls on this usually cook Saturday morning and ventured to our first Home Depot Kids Project Workshop!

The workshop area is set up outdoors, but is enclosed with an orange barrier and underneath the cover close to the store. I appreciate the care taken to make this as safe and enjoyable as possible. The only downside to the morning was the store had not received their order of kids’ aprons. Since this project involved painting that would have been really nice. We hope to get one next time!
The nice Home Depot employee gave the girls a variety of colors and our girls were thrilled to have their favorites as choices! Beth picked pink, Rose purple, and Grace blue. Beth liked painting, but did not appreciate the cold wind that was blowing. May is usually very warm in the south so we anticipate warmer weather next month.  She liked handling the screwdriver although she did need a little help from us to get it tight enough. She loved the color of pink paint and happily painted the back of her planter pink once she finished up with the screwdriver. 

Rose loves working with her hands and likes to make crafts. Before we even started she asked excitedly, “Can we come again next week!?!?” Her only frustration is she likes to do everything on her own and doesn’t always like to wait on help from one of us. She did quite well getting the screw in place for the project and only needed a bit of help getting it started. Her favorite part of the project was planting the flowers for the planter. 
Grace jumped into this project without any hesitation! She knew right away she wanted to paint it blue and went at it with gusto. She did want to mix the colors more than she wanted to paint at first though. I liked that the brushes the girls used were sponge brushes. They easily painted on the wood and did not give such a think coat that it took a long time to dry. Grace is still young enough she doesn’t mind extra help from her parents. She was younger than the target age, but had a lot of fun and did a great job! 
Finally the girls were ready to get flowers for their planters! 
Everyone was so kind and engaging with the girls. I can imagine there might be times when this could be a rather thankless job, but the employees were all very patient and pleasant, directly instructing the girls and allowing them to fully participate in every aspect of the project.
Grace wanted to add a lot of dirt! She was just tall enough to reach the into the cart and scoop out some dirt for her pots. 
Beth has always loved playing int he dirt and really enjoyed this part as well. I liked that the project included more than just the building and incorporated gardening as well.
The girls were allowed to pick which flowers they wanted in the planters. Each chose one red and one purple. We’ll make sure these get hung in a nice sunny spot outside! 
This is definitely a great way to give kids a hands-on project with no cost to your family! In addition to the project the kids each get a project apron (getting ours next time!) and a project pin to place on their apron. Collecting a variety of pins is just one more fun aspect to this outing! We look forward to participating each time one of these activities is available!
Family Friendly: 10
Kids Engagement: 10
Likelihood to return: 10 

Fun Activity: Soap Clouds

We had a failed activity this week. This is extremely rare with HOD activities. They usually go off without a hitch for me, but our soap making activity to go along with our story about Naaman washing in the Jordan River for healing failed miserably! Therefore we did something a little different.

We were supposed to take powdered laundry soap, a small amount of water, and form it into  soap shape. That didn’t work…probably due to the fact that I only had homemade laundry soap and not just the regular kind! So we opted to make soap clouds in the microwave!

If you try this remember: 1. You must use Ivory soap. 2. Please keep a close eye on the microwave

1. Place a piece of wax paper or a microwave safe paper towel into the bottom of the microwave. DO NOT USE FOIL!
2. Place bar of IVORY soap into the microwave
3. Set the microwave for about 2 minutes, but stand close by to keep an eye on it!

Having fun watching! I wish I could have gotten a better picture because this is really cool!

This is the end result…

It is so weird! The soap will be warm surprised me by being easy to mold in this state!

So the girls pushed it into a heart shaped silicone mold and then used it for bath time. I added a few drops of water to the top of each heart to help it set better. So even though our original project didn’t work out quite right, this was really fun! 

Just for fun…

I’m not one known for doing a lot of “kids” crafts. I’m good with grown up crafts but the whole mess factor really gets to me when it come to the kids. I’m really trying to work on this though! I know the girls need a creative outlet and now that we are homeschooling it’s my job to make it happen!

Do-a-Dot markers are really neat marker stamps. I use them with Grace to practice outlined letters since she is too little to write. Rose and Beth have been begging to have a chance at using them, but I wanted to give them something a little more fun than just tracing or filing in a picture. So we made tye-dyed circles. This is a fun little idea I picked up online somewhere. I have no idea where, but it’s been in the back of my mind for a couple of months.

Do-a-Dot Markers
Coffee Filters
Something to cover the table (If you’re not into messes like me…these are washable though!)
1. Fold a filter in half to make a half circle
2. Fold in half again to make a triangle
3. Fold in half one more time (it should still be a triangle)
4. Start dotting!
I showed Beth and Rose how to start in the middle and they started with this, but then the ink didn’t go all the way through quite like I expected, so they finished by opening it up. Grace just did her own thing!
Overall this was a HUGE hit! Do take note of the mats underneath the girls’ projects. I told you I don’t like messes! On the mess meter this probably hit about at a 3…and the markers were washable so that may even be a little bit high!