key to mummy’s heart :: mothers day craft
Late last year, Beetle Boy decided he was done with forever trailing after his big siblings and just doing whatever activities they were doing. He wanted something just for his own, somewhere to make friends that were someone other than the younger siblings of his own siblings friends. Scouts, we thought, might be a good fit for him. To say he has taken to it like a duck to water is an understatement – he has taken to it in a way that make ducks look positively landlocked.
He’s now a fully invested member of the troop, and even got to carry a flag for the ANZAC Day march. Hi first camp is coming up, and he is practically vibrating with delight at the thought of it. Even better? Daddy is going with him. My fellow crafty scouting mums, knowing my propensity for ending up on a million different committees if it means keeping things running for my children to participate in, are asking when I’m getting myself voted onto the committee, or becoming a troop leader. Being the newbies of the troop, I have avoided such a fate so far.
Then. Then term two unit council came along, and at the end, a small boy came bouncing up to me, doing his best impression of a tiny Tigger in a scout scarf.
“Mummy, I said I could be the leader for scouts one night and we could Mother’s Day craft, ok?” You know when a kid says “we” but really means “you”? Pretty sure that’s what is happening here. Like many youth activities, leaders and volunteers are light on the ground, and part of signing up to scouts is agreeing to be a parent helper a couple of nights a term. In a way, I am quite thankful that my child knows me well enough to pick a craft activity for our night.
Together, we brainstormed and came up with a couple of ideas. I picked up supplies in town, and after school one afternoon, as one brother was at work and another was tinkering with a project and sissy was off practicing her basketball hoop-shooting, Beetle and I got to work making up a prototype. He did a wonderful job of taking our basic idea and putting his own twist on it.
To try and make them really scout-ish, I thought we could also try adding some wood burning to the little wood veneer hearts. Considering safety in a gaggle of small boys, I got the family to pick me up a wood burning pen last week while they were near a bigger Bunnings than our local. I failed to factor in though, the grain of the cheap veneers, and that the ink would run. While the trial worked, and it blackened nicely, it didn’t look like burnt wood. It looked like black Texta that ran. The pen will be a fun toy for me to try on actual wood another time (and possibly save up my sleeve for next time I’m pressed into scout craft service), but it’s not going to work for this project.
I think what Beetle settled on is a fun enough project – a veneer heart, and some leather strapping with handmade beads & a bit of personalisation, on a keyring. A cute easy project for the boys to make, something useful for mamas to receive. The boy is very excited to share this project with his friends tonight!
But of course, this mummy wouldn’t be this mummy if there wasn’t some overcrafting involved. While I was collecting supplies I spotted some blank cards in the craft section, and knew they would be the perfect “extra” to add in, to give the children something to do while their beads baked. I got busy designing a PNG I could use to cut the front of the premade cards, on my Cricut. Being new to the group, I am not familiar with a lot of the families and their specific dynamics, on what can be a tricky day for folks, so I decided to go with a generic “I love you” design, that they could gift to their special person on Sunday, no matter what they call that special person.
But why stop there? Is a project even a project if you don’t take it as far as you possibly can? While the cricut was busy cutting out a big batch of the pre-made cards, I decided to take it a step further. What if, says I to myself, I took the PNG and used it to create an SVG to cut a version of the card from a flat sheet of cardstock? Learning to make layered SVGs has been on my list for ages, and there was no time like the present. The steepest learning curve was the software – since giving up my photography business I have downgraded my Adobe sub to photoshop & Lightroom only, and no longer have Illustrator in my plan. (Can I just say I freaking HATE the subscription model of software “purchases” these days? Sometimes you just need a program once a year, and out of date features don’t really make a difference to the kind of stuff I would want to do, so I don’t want to have to pay through the nose each month. /end rant). I decided to give Inkscape a whirl, and I don’t know if I’ve just been out of the vector design space for too long, or I’m An Old now, but I found it less intuitive to use than Illustrator, so it took me a bit to wrap my head around it. we got there in the end though, and it was so satisfying to import that sucker into Design Space and see all those lovely layers appearing! A whole card! With multiple layers! I made that!
Possibly the most fun part of the process, was creating little kits for each boy. I love a good kit, and the soothing repetition of prepping piles of each component, then grabbing a bag and picking along the row like a little production line was super fun – if anyone is starting a subscription box and needs a picker packer I’m your girl! There’s just something so zen about it. 12 little baggies lined up across the table, then neatly tucked inside my finch bucket along with all the supplies I need, and I am organised and ready to bring my best Scout!Mum game to the table.
Tutorial – Quick and easy gift keyring
In each kit I included:
Card + envelope, pre-cut on my cricut
Blank paper x2, cut to size (2 to allow for errors and do-overs)
5″ of grey leather strapping
1″ of bright blue leather strapping
3x half row of polymer clay in white, silver & dark grey
Keyring with heart veneer
Keyring + Heart veneer pre drilled + Jump ring
Alphabet beads to share
Each piece of clay will make one bead. Warm the clay by kneading in your palm, and then shape to your desired form – I made a ball, a cube, and a dome (made by flattening a ball into a disc, then gently shaping over the top of my thumb)
Use the skewer with a gentle twisting motion to create a hole in each bead.
Take the blue strapping, and gently feed it through the hole to test it is large enough. If you can’t get it through, reinsert the skewer and wiggle it gently to enlarge the hole. If the strapping fits all the way through, remove it from the bead.
Bake beads as per clay instructions – mine is 30 minutes at 110 degrees celsius.
While the beads are baking, take the jump ring, and open with needle nose pliers. Add the keyring & heart, and close the ring.
Take the grey leather strapping, and fold in half. Feed the loop end through the keyring, and then bring the cut ends over and around the keyring and pass through the loop, pulling tight to attach the leather to the keyring.
Pick your alphabet beads to personalise, and string them on one of the loose ends of the strapping. Tie a knot in the end of this strapping.
Once the clay beads are baked and cooled, thread them onto the other end of the of the strapping, and tie a knot in the end.
Wrap and gift to someone you love! It’s that easy!