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March Into Spring With Easy Craft Projects

March 4, 2014
By Heidi Maness Hartwiger - Natural Parent, Natural Child writer , OVParent

Hello March! What's going on?

The calendar promises spring. But cold rain and winds nix outside play. Kids have zero resistance to the latest viruses. They are sick enough to stay home but just healthy enough to drive you crazy.

Now you indulge in visions of last resort. Singing bluebirds cavort from tree to tree. Bunnies dance among the woodland flowers. While suffering cabin fever during winter's endless freeze, who hasn't slipped into flowery Disney mode? There are ways besides bluebirds and dancing bunnies to bring sunshine inside. Pull a few surprise crafts out of your hat. Many quick crafts make use of items found around the house. The simple crafts mentioned below use craft sticks, coffee filters, yarn, pipe cleaners and glue.

Article Photos

A craft stick flower created by Emma

Craft Stick Flowers

Eight craft sticks are needed for each flower head and one stick for the stem. If you want colored sticks, color them with markers. Dot the center of each stick with glue. Layer the sticks, stick over stick to make a circle. After the sticks are bonded, glue the flower head onto the stick stem. Imaginations bloom with the finishing touches. For the flower center, glue a cotton ball, pom pom, balled-up dryer lint, a button etc. Pull cotton balls into fine film and glue around the flower edges. Apply glitter for a glitzy option. Now the flowers need a flower bed. Be creative. Decorated foil mini-loaf pans, disposable bowls, decorated whipped topping containers - whatever will hold some floral foam or clay will do. Arrange the flowers by sticking into floral foam.

Coffee Filter Flowers

Any size round coffee filters will do. Because water and food coloring are involved, spread a layer of newspaper on the work surface. Fill muffin tins or ice cube tray compartments about 2/3 full of water. Add a drop of food coloring to each compartment. Red, yellow, blue and green colors come in the food coloring kits. So, have four plain colors and mix colors in the remaining cups. Let the filter dipping begin!

There are many ways to dip a filter - from the center, around the edges and "freestyle." The real fun comes in watching the ways the filters absorb the colors. When the filters are dry, pinch in the middle - about an inch or more depending on the size of the filter - to prepare for the pipe cleaner stem.

Wrap one end of the pipe cleaner several times around the pinch. Shape the filter into a flower. Need leaves? Shape the pipe cleaners into leaves and wrap around the stem.

Filter flowers are a little floppy, so they need a vase. To make a vase, wrap a small glass jar with yarn or twine. A straight side jar is easiest, but any will do. The secret to eliminating wrapping frustration is to put a piece of masking tape down the length of one side of the jar. Loop the tape so one sticky surface is on the jar while the other side is sticky side up. Start at the top and work around. To finish at the bottom, use a dot of glue to hold the yarn tip in place. Craft sticks glued around the exterior of a small square box is another option. A finishing touch for that choice could be raffia, yarn or twine wrapped around the box then tied in a bow or fancy knot.

Sick Bugs

Droopy boys may not be feeling the flower power. If they have a sickness bug, why not make a sick "bug"? Pipe cleaners just might be the bug crafter's choice. They can craft everything from wiggly worms to spiders to butterflies. Have plenty of yarn, cotton balls and pom poms, etc., to accessorize. When my four kids had yucky days, I crafted little pipe cleaner eyeglasses for the sicklies, so they could see things a little differently. Sometimes all it takes is a smile to change the atmosphere.

As my kids got older, they took crayon drawings of sick bugs to the next level.

With crayons, they covered an entire piece of paper in many colors except for black. Sometimes the colors were in stripes sometimes random.

.After the page was completely covered in color, they colored over with a layer of black - yes, solid black. Then they selected a tool such as a toothpick, craft stick or just a fingernail to scratch through the black surface to create unusual bugs. This stop-and-start project with minimal cleanup keeps the kids occupied. This not only gives mom a breather, but also it is a good way to use broken crayon stubs.

Pull out the modeling compound for serious bug crafting. Fresh out of modeling compound? For a homemade "make it and dry it" modeling compound, you will need 1/1/4 cups cornstarch, 2 cups baking soda, 1 1/3 cups cold water. Combine dry ingredients in a saucepan. Gradually add water 1/3 cup at a time as you stir well. After all water is added, place pan over medium heat and stir constantly until the mix resembles dough. On the counter mound up dough until cool enough to handle. Divide then add food coloring to each mound and knead until color is mixed, and dough is smooth. Presto! Inexpensive homemade modeling compound.

After the bugs are crafted set them aside to dry. Decorate the inside of a tissue box or shoe box as a bug display. Who doesn't like to roll snakes? Turn the snakes into bug names or other words. Make several snakes in different colors, and then cut into segments. Pinch different colored segments together to form the letters that create a word. Dry on a cake rack. The thicker the letters the longer the drying time.

The final step is to glue the letters on decorated card stock and hang on the refrigerator. This is definitely a conversation piece as the family eases down the road to good health during the march into spring.

- Heidi Maness Hartwiger, a Wheeling native, is a writer, teacher and storyteller. She is the author of six books, including her most recent, a novel titled "Fire in Progress." She is a mother of four and a grandmother of five



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