Monday, January 31, 2011

Dollar / Discount Store Revamp: Valentine's Chair Backers

This is the follow up to yesterday's chair backer post (thank you so much for the kind feedback - made my day!!).    My sister didn't feel like putting together a chair backer from scratch so she revamped one of those dollar store discount felt treat bags.

Here is the original felt sack (this one was $4.99 at Winners - aka TJ Maxx state-side)

She turned it into this
She just used some red felt from her stash for a little mail sack topper and used the existing handles for chair back ties, adding buttons and button holes

Now, I have spotted this particular felt sack at several Dollaramas for $1, it is a little smaller than the one my sister used, but it should still work - perhaps fit some cardboard in the bottom to keep the structure.

Have fun.  If the stars and naps are aligned, I will be showcasing a few more Valentine's Day dollar store  projects and I promise none involve hideous feather handcuffs,

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Valentine's Chair Backer

This weekend, the stars were aligned and naps coincided with a couple of heavenly hours to try out a new-for-me pattern.  I made these chair backers using fourteen may's pattern.

I used cream corduroy and Valentine's fabric for the heart and liner.  When I perfect my cursive embroidery skills, I will stitch the girls' names. {I recently received a copy of Scandinavian Stitches which features a number of projects using stitching and cursive writing, so I am really drawn to that now}.  Sadly, that skill set is not going to be acquired in the next couple of weeks.  So these are our chair backers.  When my husband saw them he asked, what is this - some sort of Valentine's stocking????

Have a great week my friends and be sure to check out all the great projects at,
The DIY Show Off

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fortune Cooking Lacing Activity

My sister used this activity in her class which is based on  Roylco Fortune Cookie kit.  Unfortunately, there are only 12 cookies in each kit, so if you have a standard size class room you will have to make more cookies so that each child can participate (or buy a second kit).  The advantage of the kit is the rubbing template, but if you want the children to print their own fortunes, you really wouldn't need the kit as the activity is really just an exercise in paper folding technique. 

1. Trace a 6.5inch diameter circle on cream cardstock

2. Fold in half to form a semi-circle

3. Fold four sides of circle as shown below

4. Fold again in a semi circle (see photo)

5. Hopefully, you should have something that looks like this.

6. Shape into a fortune cookie form.

7. Punch holes around the curve for lacing

8. Tie one end of the yarn

9. Hand the project over to a keen student

10.  As mentioned above, the kit comes with a rubbing activity, if you don't have the kit you can omit this step and create your own fortunes on strips of paper.

11. Tuck in your fortune

12.  Stand back and admire your work!!

Have a lovely weekend,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tutorial: How to Set up a Chinese New Year Dramatic Play Centre

I know a number of early childhood educators read my blog and they are interested in including a CNY unit in their classrooms.  I asked my sister to prepare a post on how she sets up her Chinese New Year Dramatic Play Centre.  This centre is designed for children aged 4-5.
Play defined "one of the richest and most natural ways forchildren to learn. Play encourages children to develop their oral language and listening skills, to take risks with something new, to practice problem solving skills, and to develop a sense of community, of friendship."
Suggested list of materials

1. Dolls

2. Paper lanterns

3. Good luck decorations

4. Broom (to sweep out bad luck, sorry no photo)

5. Oranges

6. Chinese Food Take-Out boxes

7. Chopsticks

8. Play food consisting of rice, noodles and bok choy, you may wish to make an assortment of felt play food like KJ posted about yesterday

9. Wok

10. Dress up clothes

11. An assortment of books about Chinese New Year celebrations

In the Chinese Food boxes I have cut up yarn to act as noodles.

Other suggestions:

A lucky bamboo counting exercise, for instance:
3 for Happiness
5 for Health
2 for Love & Marriage
8 for Wealth and Abundance
9 for Good Fortune.

Red money envelopes strung together like a bunting

I am a "map person" (the navigator in the relations) so I love maps, so you may want to include a map of China. I save maps from National Geographic and you can find some great ones to use as a backdrop. 

In closing, I thought I would share a photo of Miss Lily enjoying the Chinese New Year drama centre at her nursery school (pictured about 18 months old, she absolutely loved that drama centre).

This post is linked t0
Everyday Dramatic Play

I hope you are having a great week - it warmed up to +1 C today, I am kicking my heels,

{If you need CNY crafting ideas, I have posted about the following projects(kumquat thumprint art, Koi Kites, Glass Lanterns, and Paper Tube Fire Crackers}