Friday, December 23, 2016

Scented Felt Hand Warmers

We are from New England and are expecting snow next week. So I decided to make some hand warmers! I knew we'd be in and out of the house throughout the day shoveling, so I knew hand warmers would come in handy. They were really easy to make, and they smell great!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. 

To make Felt Hand Warmers, you will need:

Felt (I used 2 1/2 inch squares for children and 4 inch squares for adults)
Essential Oil (I used Spearmint Oil - the minty smell is amazing on a cold day)
Embroidery Thread (I used DMC Embroidery Floss)
Uncooked Rice 
Embroidery Hand Needles
Sharp Scissors

For each hand warmer, you'll need to cut out two squares of equal size. Or any shape, really. I was planning on making lavender scented heart shaped hand warmers for next month, in time for Valentine's Day. Because I expect we will still have plenty of snow by then.

I used a blanket stitch, but you could use a whip stitch if you prefer. I'm sure there are many more creative stitches, but I just like the look of the blanket stitch on felt projects. 

I used 1 tablespoon of rice per child sized hand warmer and 2 tablespoons of rice for each of the adult hand warmers. I mixed in a few drops of spearmint essential oil. We used brown rice, since it's a larger grain.

Once they are finished, all you'll need to do is pop them in the microwave for 25-50 seconds, let them sit for a few moments when they are finished (please be careful, they may be too hot) and then pocket them. They will keep your hands toasty warm!

We look forward to trying our new hand warmers out!

Note: One reader suggested adding ceramic pie weights to the hand warmers. It will keep them warmer for longer. Has anyone tried this?

Stay warm!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ribbon Wrapped Embroidery Hoop Tutorial

This simple cardinal cross stitch quickly became a fun project to make! I learned a lot about wrapping ribbon around the embroidery hoop through trial and error. Now I can't wait to make more finished cross stitch projects like this!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. 

To make this project, you'll need: 
DMC Embroidery Floss (666, 352, 437, and 310)

I started out by practicing a few wraps around the hoop with the ribbon. Once I liked the placement, I glued the beginning piece of the ribbon to the inside of the outer hoop, near the opening. 

You'll want to space the ribbon apart, so it is not too thick, otherwise when you place the cloth between the two hoops, you won't be able to close it.

You'll also want to make sure the ribbon is not bunched up in places. It should be smooth and tight around the hoop.

Once you reach the other end of the hoop, glue the underside of the ribbon to the hoop. I closed the hoop with the screw and then debated how to create a bow and some way to hang it.

I then fitted the aida cloth into the hoop and trimmed the excess fabric. Go ahead and use fray check glue if you are worried about the cloth fraying. If it's tight in the hoop and you don't expect it to be taken out, I wouldn't worry about it. You could also use glue to secure it to the hoop, but that may damage or discolor the fabric. I did not use either.

I ended up wrapping the ribbon around the screw, looped the ribbon to about 3 inches, and then created a folded bow in the front, right above the screw. I did add a small dot of glue between the bow and the loop to keep it from slipping. I tucked the end of the ribbon underneath the middle of the bow and secured it with glue.

And there you have it! Super easy! This project took about 1 and a half hours to stitch, and another hour to finish. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Stuffed Felt Alphabet

I recently made a custom Etsy order for a fellow blogger, Heather at Crayon Box Chronicles. She requested a set of felt letters for her adorable baby girl - so I created a set of rainbow letters! I used a simple, easy-to-read font in uppercase letters that are about 3".

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

I used bright shades in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple felt. I did alter the I from the original font, but I kept the J as is. You can either hold the paper letter to the felt and cut around it or use a disappearing ink pen to trace it and then cut it. 

See the difference in the J? I'll probably change the J in the future.

I sewed along the edges using a blanket stitch and filled them with Poly-Fil stuffing. I'm thinking about using Poly-Pellets for a future project. They are weighed stuffing beads, which would be great for sensory-sensitive children and could be used for all kinds of activities.

Aren't they lovely? This was such a fun project for me! I love creating educational toys for kids!

Updated:I found this adorable patterned felt at Target! It was fun fun to make this new set!

My kids love the designs.

I usually use a thread color that matches the felt, but this time I went with white on all of them and I love how they turned out,

Message me at my Etsy store if you ever want a custom order created for you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Chara Games Review

Commissioned {Chara Games}

We received the Commissioned board game from Chara Games to review. This was a game that originally started on Kickstarter and is now available at online retailers and possibly your LFGS (local friendly game store). Commissioned was designed by Patrick and Katherine Lysaght, who are also the founders of Chara Games. Commissioned is their first game that they designed and published together. They also have a second game coming out, that was recently on Kickstarter, called 3 Seeds. They did not design the game, but they published it. Chara Games is new to publishing games, but from the comments I have read on Kickstarter and from other board game reviewers, they produced a high quality game and even got it out to backers before the expected delivery date.

Commissioned {Chara Games}
$34.86 (current Amazon price at the time of this post)

Commissioned is for 2-6 players, ages 14+ (recommended age, but younger players can certainly learn how to play if they are experienced gamers), and plays in about an hour. We played our first game in just over an hour, but the first "learning game" typically take extra time. With more players, it will likely be 60-90 minutes. There are multiple missions that you can play, so I expect play times will vary.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

Commissioned is a game where you play the Apostles in the early days of Christianity. You and the other Apostles are traveling around trying to spread the word of God and build churches in cities across the map. In the first scenario we needed to have one follower in each city and all of the books completed. On each turn you also have to play a threat card, and in our first game we got the three worst cards back to back at the start of the game. It really set us back and made the rest of the game much harder. We did fail the first game, but came really close. With one more turn we might have won. We actually don't mind playing games where we lose, but I can imagine younger players would be upset by that. However, it's a neat part of the game because it's based on historical events.

Commissioned {Chara Games}
Commissioned is really interesting because it teaches how Christianity started and spread. It also teaches about history and the geography of the world 2,000 years ago. The threat cards deal with real obstacles the early Apostles would have faced. 

The Commissioned board game comes with a rule book and a theme appendix. This is especially helpful if you plan to use this game to teach about Christianity. I think it would be a really interesting game to have at church, on church group trips, Bible camp, etc. It could also be used in a theology classroom. 

The board is double-sided and has a linen finish (which is a high quality finish and looks and feels lovely). It is double-sided because you can play with 2-6 players and to keep the game balanced there are larger areas and more locations to cover with the higher player count. 

The footprints at the top is where you put the four draw piles. These are cards that you can buy throughout the game. They have different costs and the cards have weaker abilities for the cheaper cards and stronger abilities for the more expensive cards. The candles on the left is where you track when you lose locations or when bad things happen. Snuff out enough of them and you lose the game. 

The cards on the left of the board are the threat cards which determine what kind of obstacle you're going to face that turn. Sometimes it's that an Apostle will be imprisoned, sometimes it prevents followers from moving, other times it cuts your flock in half. If you play through that entire deck you also lose.  

The book locations at the bottom of the board is where you store the books when you complete them. You simply take the card with the matching book and slip it halfway under the board so that it shows sticking out. The first time we played we did this part wrong. We completed the books and marked it with a white cube, leaving the card in our hand. A few turns in we realized we had been doing it wrong and kept it in mind for the next game. It makes a lot of sense to "spend" the card, because it helps to keep your deck size down. 

Here are the components: decks of cards, player cards, first player marker, white follower cubes, meeples, mission cards, cardboard tokens, and Apostle player pieces. 

There are six player cards, which are based on the Apostles. The backside of the cards have historical art on them. We always love when publishers put art on the backside of player cards. Each of the Apostles have a special ability. For the first game we chose at random, but in future games we might want to choose more strategically, because then their special ability could help during the game. My character's special ability was almost no help in our first game.

The components are thick cardboard. 

I played Barnabas in the first game. I chose him at random, and barely used his special special ability. Each round you draw six cards from your deck, then you choose two to play. You place these face down on your character sheet. Then when everyone is done choosing, you reveal the cards. The person with the first person marker gets to choose which of the actions they want to use. You can discuss which ones would be best to play, unless a card says otherwise. Then you move cubes, player pieces, or spend cards, and the first person marker is handed to the next player. We have only played with two players so far. After two rounds, you have two cards leftover in your hand. These cards have a value on them and that lets you "spend" them on the special cards. These cards can give you special abilities, like clearing obstacles, extra movement, books, get out of jail, etc.

The above picture shows how we played during the first game and explains why we played wrong. We played on the same side of the table, and I had the baby on my lap, so we put the cards at the base of the game so they were easier to reach. It took up the space where we should have been putting the spent book cards.

The goal of the first mission was to complete all of the books and have at least one follower in each of the locations. We managed to complete all of the books, but were four locations short. One more turn would have won us the game, but sometimes you run out of time. We ran through the threat deck, so we did as much as we could manage on the last few turns. We took mental notes and made sure we didn't make the same mistakes on the next play through.

We don't usually buy religious games, but Commissioned was really well received. We loved the quality of the board game and components for its price. We enjoyed the historical side of it and actually learned from the game. We haven't had a chance to play it with our friends yet, but we have a few Christian friends who are looking forward to trying it. They checked it out while they were over and agreed that it looks interesting and unique. We look forward to our next few games of Commissioned!

Look out for our review of 3 Seeds, the newest game from Chara Games, which was recently on Kickstarter.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

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Commissioned {Chara Games}

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