Thursday, July 23, 2009

some pig

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.

craft failure in progress

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.


  1. As soon as I saw your post title, I knew I had to check it out because I just finished re-reading Charlotte's Web. I am thinking of trying to read it aloud to my four year-old before taking him to see the (free) movie in mid-August. I am sure the new movie won't be as good as the cartoon version you're planning to view. I think I remember it being pretty great, too. Thanks for sharing the great craft ideas, maybe I can use the promise of trying those to entice him to listen, too.

  2. What a good mom you are! I had to laugh about your description of the craft fail. As the mother of two boys, I might actually try the gluey web - my boys love all things ooey gooey.

  3. I read this to my daughters earlier this year and they LOVED it all the way to the end when Charlotte dies. The 3 year old took it with aplomb. The 5 yo broke out sobbing, not for Charlotte but for her elderly grandfather, who is alive, but she figured out that since Charlotte died because she was old then so will Granddad. I keep trying chapter books though, they seem to really like them!

  4. K, good luck with your 4 yr old! if he doesn't love it now, he will later.

    rdefnet, two girlier girls I could not have. they hate getting sticky.

    Sarah, I confess I had to pause in the reading to keep myself from bursting into tears when Charlotte died. But my voice was all quavery for the next paragraph and gave me away. Thing One kept looking at me with this 'are you alright, crazy mommy?' look on her face. I said, Wow, what just happened to Charlotte? and she said tolerantly, as one might speak to a simpleton, 'She died.' Oh. okey dokey then.

  5. I'll have to remember this when we get done with the book. It is in the curriculum for the next year! I can remember reading it over and over as a kid and just loving it. They love the movie, hopefully they will like the book as much!
    I can just imagine your sweet little ones hands being held in the air and the looks on their faces. :)

  6. so cute and how resourceful of you

  7. Thank you for sharing your Charlotte's Web creations, Love how you worked out how to do it, What a wonderful adventure and i am so glad you stuck with it. Now for a cool mouse go to
    Jodie has designed the cutest mouse for you to use. She is a super person and a lovely blog to follow.

  8. Don't you love re-reading all the classic chapter books with your kids. We will have to get Charlotte's web from the library to read. My favorite was reading the Little House Series to my daughter....and I know the teachers at my children's school still read aloud. My daughter's first grade teacher read them "Ramona" last year.

  9. What a cute idea! Charlotte is really cool and I love the web! I've never heard of Fabritak - you can bet I will be checking it out!

  10. How wonderful those ideas are! I remember my first grade teacher reading one chapter a day with the same anticipation. Then, the whole first grade got together in one room to watch the movie. It was on one of those old style projectors. By the end I had to pee so badly. I just knew I would never get another chance to see this movie so I held it as long as I could. When the credits rolled, I ran for the bathroom. But there was no running allowed in school. It was such a moral conflict! I didn't quite make it. I have no regrets tho. That was an awesome movie. I know because I have seen it like 100 times since! LOL

  11. Charlotte's Web was one of my absolute favourite books as a child. I love the crafts you did based on it - especially the web!

  12. i read my girls the bridge to terabithia and started sobbing at the last chapter( before anything tragic) that they thought I was insane. I have since decided that where the red fern grows is a bad idea.

  13. i love it! i've got boys, but still whenever anything messy is involved (food or craft related) their instinct is to wipe their hands IMMEDIATELY on their shirts.

  14. That looks like you guys had so much fun! I remember our teacher did the same thing, reading one chapter a day and we had to WAIT to find out what happened next. I could never wait so I usually checked the book out from the library and read ahead--leaving time to doodle while listening to the story.

  15. Sweet! We're about to start Charlotte's Web, so, once again, you and I are on the same wavelength. As well as on other things that I can't mention, because your stinkety birthday is sneaking up on me and you keep stumbling upon the very ideas that I'm tossing around for you. Which is VERY frustrating, but not at all surprising. :)

  16. I know this post is super old, but I just had to say... I JUST like 10 minutes ago did the yarn/glue web with my kids and it was also a pinterest fail! My kids didnt want to touch it either and I was losing my patience like "If you guys dont just do this, I'm not planning another craft for 6 months!!" Lol! Not my proudest moment. But I'm glad to see we're not the only ones that this didn't work for.....
    It's drying right now. We'll see in 3 weeks how it turned out. lol!

    1. LOL...thanks for taking me down memory lane. Hoo boy. Crafts gone wrong. 3 weeks may not be long enough for it to dry. :-) The pipe cleaner version was ever so much better!


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