Thursday, July 23, 2009
We just finished reading Charlotte's Web aloud at my house. I was very excited to read it with the girls because I remember it as the highlight of my 2nd grade year. My wonderful (and pretty) redheaded teacher, Miss Baggett, read one chapter aloud to us each day. I remember being completely lost in the story, and also the frustration when the chapter ended and I had to wait until the next day to find out what happened. Do teachers still have time to read aloud to kids in school? I sure hope so.
So in honor of Charlotte and Wilbur, we had a Day-O-Crafts at our house. We made a fuzzy pom pom Charlotte. We had to make the pom poms from yarn, as we were going for authenticity and we had no grey store-bought pom poms. As we were gluing on her googly eyes, we discussed the fact that real spiders have eight eyes, and we agreed that we'd stick with two because
a) two is all I had in the craft box
b) Charlotte with eight eyes of any kind would be realistic but--fatal flaw for a nice girl spider-- scary.
Her legs are two brown pipe cleaners, snipped in half, then folded in half again, with beads stuck on the ends. We bent a tiny bit of each foot back to keep the beads on. Then we just glued the leg pairs to the the bottom of her body and bent them to look spidery. We glued a long piece of white yarn to her tuckus so she could hang. Her smile is a pink piece of yarn. Thing One suggested eyelashes of some kind, but after pondering that for a moment, we decided to skip it.
Then we made her a web. Our first attempt was definitely a CraftFail. I let Thing One choose which word she'd like to see in the web. After seeing some similar projects online, I got this bright idea that we could lay down some wax paper and make the web by soaking yarn in glue, laying it down in a web pattern, and letting it dry until it was stiff.
I mixed the glue with some water, which might have been the reason it failed so miserably. Then I had to actually force my girls to touch the gluey yarn, and chided them about being unafraid to get sticky and be brave crafters. They still handled every piece like it was radioactive and covered in boogers. Also they tried to go wash their hands every time they picked up a piece. So the construction phase was a bit tedious and I'm afraid the Spirit of Fun had definitely left the proceedings by the time we were done. It took a long time to dry, and even after I had gone back and reinforced each intersection with full-strength Elmer's, the pieces still did not stick together and the yarn was not very stiff.
Ok. So we rallied our craft mojo and switched to white pipe cleaners, yarn and Fabritac. Have I mentioned before how much I adore Fabritac? I have? Oh. This web was much quicker to construct, and most importantly, took only moments to dry. We love it.
It takes 6 white pipe cleaners (or 'chenille sticks' if you are Martha) that you combine into 3 really long pipe cleaners for the main spokes, and twist together in the middle to hold. Then you just knot a piece of white yarn close to the center, and loop it once around each spoke, pulling it snug as you go (but not too tight). Continue around and around until you have a web. Then you knot it at the end. You can also add a message to it with pipe cleaners and Fabritac like we did. And I also reinforced each loop with a dot of Fabritac so it would stand up to some handling.
On to Wilbur. I spotted this completely cool craft page while googling for Charlotte's Web crafts. The pig version had everything going for it:
a) you make it out of a paper plate (there is a never-ending supply of those at our house)
b) it is held together by a staple, no glue of any kind involved
c) it actually looks like a pig when you are done
The girls had fun coloring the plates and gluing on the buttons. I did the cutting and stapling. Incidently, did you know some crayola colored pencils are really stinky? We found that the bright pink one emits an icky smell when you color hard with it. Which is pretty appropriate for a pig, now that I think about it.
Now Thing One would like to make a Templeton of some kind. While rat crafts are scarce, there are plenty of mouse-themed craft ideas out there, so we could just do one of those only make it a lot fatter and meaner.
As the grand finale to our time with Charlotte, we have rented the cartoon from 1973 to view on movie night for the girls. I hope it is as good as I remember!
P.S. For those of you who were waiting for word on the ruffler cheat sheet, I added a late note to the original post. Thanks again for the link, Mary.