Browsing Category: tutorials

Free Printables: Star Wars Themed Birthday Party

February is a short, crazy month in the jkwdesigns household. Now that my big boys are in school, I have Valentine’s Day crafts, 100th day of school crafts, and the birthdays of all 3 of my children to celebrate. All within a week of each other. 🙁 I feel like I’m juggling 30 crystal wine glasses while doing the river dance.

When my boys asked begged me for a bowling party, I have to admit that I was a little sad. As a party planner, I had grand plans for a Jedi Academy themed party, complete with Jedi robes, lightsabers, training course and certificates of completion. Two minutes later, I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief because I wouldn’t have to worry about prepping all the activities and planning the menu. Feeling about 10 lbs lighter, I vowed to throw all my efforts into the invitations and party favors and got started.

And here’s what happened!

INVITATIONS HOW-TO:

Inspired by other lightsaber invitations I saw on Pinterest, but absolutely unwilling to cut out individual lightsaber pieces and construct, I decided to go with a more realistic approach. Plus, hunting down card stock in various colors here in Seoul seemed like a waste of time. (I really, really miss Michael’s and AC Moore!) I did some research on lightsaber hilts and found that Yoda’s lightsaber would work best. It’s fairly uniform in width from top to bottom, so it would provide the width I needed to be able to slide a blue or green ray of light/paper in and out of the hilt. Using an image of Yoda’s lightsaber hilt, I adjusted the size to widen it without making it look disproportionate.

Lightsaber Invitations

Materials:
Card stock in white to print lightsaber hilts
Card stock in color of lightsaber blade
Printer
Scissors
Sookwang double sided tape (1/4 inch wide)

The lightsaber hilts are approximately 2 inches across, which leaves about 1.5 inches to work with on the inside once the pockets are constructed.

You can download the PDF file containing the adjusted lightsaber hilts (3 per page) here: Lightsaber Invitation

Print on card stock and cut the lightsabers out. You will also need to create a stencil of the cut piece in order to create the “pocket.” If you’re handy with the Silhouette cutter, then you could easily import the image and have your Silhouette do all the cutting for you.

IMG_0749

The most tedious part of the invitation is creating the pockets for the blade. I used Sookwang tape or Scor-Tape, which is an amazing double-sided adhesive. I placed the adhesive along the edges of the lightsaber hilt (approx. 1/8 inch) and cut the excess adhesive off. This allowed me to make the pocket as wide as possible since I had very little room to work with.

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For the blade portion of the invitation, I designed a long, narrow invitation strip and printed half in blue and half in green (because I have twins who insist). And the result was an absolute hit. The kids–mine and the recipients–were thrilled with the invitations, and many of them went so far as to bring their lightsaber invitations to the party.

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FOOD:

Our local bowling alley is all set up for parties; however, as part of the party package, the only food that you’re allowed to bring in is a birthday cake. Everything else must be purchased from the bowling alley. And the options are very limited. As in what toppings would you like on your pizza limited. So pizza and fruit punch it is.

ACTIVITIES:

The rental is for a 2 hour party: one hour of bowling followed by one hour of food and cake. We’d been to enough parties at the bowling alley to be familiar with the set-up, and the bowling portion of the party is enough to kids occupied, so there really was no need for planning any other activities.

I did, however, create an activity placemat for the tables, just so it wouldn’t be so bare. It contains a blueprint-type coloring page of the Millennium Falcon and a personalized word search that includes my boys’ names. There are some great word search generators online–here’s one of my favorites from The Teachers Corner.

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DECORATIONS:

It’s no secret that I like simple, bold design, and since this party was for MY kids and not for a client, I was able to go with my very own personal style. Luckily, my boys don’t really have opinions on this sort of thing, and they were just so excited that everything was Star Wars-related that I received no complaints. 😉

So as my design style goes, I stuck with black, white and gray with a splash of yellow. Since I couldn’t bring in my own food, it limited my party styling. I kept the cake table pretty clear because I definitely wanted the cake itself to be the center of attention. The cake was made by an incredibly talented friend of mine who will be in Seoul for the next few months, so if you’re looking for a cake designer, let me know and I’ll pass along her information!

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Almost all of my decorations were made with the help of my trusty Silhouette Cameo. I cut Jedi Order symbol stickers (in white) and applied them to black paper cups. I cut white star stickers and applied them to a black plastic tablecloth which was hung on the wall for the backdrop. I cut additional Jedi Order and Rebel Alliance symbols from black poster board and placed them on the yellow napkins on tables. The “Welcome Young Jedi” sign was also made from sticker letters cut with the Silhouette. Seriously, I love my Silhouette.

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The only other decor item that I designed for the party is the birthday banner, which you can download here for free! This includes the Jedi Order symbols. Just print on card stock, cut, punch holes and string together!

Star Wars Birthday Banner

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PARTY FAVORS:

Since I had decided early on that I was going to put all my efforts into party favors, I knew that I wanted to make personalized t-shirts for my boys’ guests. However, I knew that many of them would be coming with younger siblings. Then, I got to thinking about the people I really wanted to thank for coming, and that was PARENTS! So here’s what went into the party favors:

For the Jedi Masters:

Each of the guests received a personalized t-shirt, which was created using heat transfer paper. I’ve worked with heat transfer paper before in the past, and I don’t love it. The finished product doesn’t typically hold up very well in the wash. The image cracks, and the colors fade. However, on the bright side, if you’re going for a vintage look, it’s perfect! 😉

SONY DSC

For Younglings:

Younger siblings received a glow stick/lightsaber favor, which actually ended up being super popular with ALL OF THE KIDS. Luckily, I had so many glow sticks left over from our Valentine’s Day project that I’d made extras so there were enough glow sticks for everyone.

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You can download the lightsaber cards here: Lightsaber Party Favor Card

For the Jedi Council:

Last, but certainly not least, I made gourmet chocolates for the parents! I had so much fun with this, and I’d actually been preparing to make these for quite some time, experimenting with recipes (particularly the raspberry ganache recipe) until I came up with one I liked. My husband and I ate A LOT of chocolate during the experimenting process. A LOT. But I think the end results were well worth it! And of course, the Darth Vader and Stormtrooper molds were perfect for the dark and white chocolates. The molds are available on Amazon.

IMG_0960

**EDIT 1/28/2016 – The Star Wars chocolate favor tags are available for free here**

May the Force be with you!

 

Disclosure: This post contains links to products on amazon.com. These are products that I purchased and used for my own projects with no compensation. However, if you click on the link and purchase the product, I will receive a small fee from Amazon.com.
* * * * * * * * *
jkwdesigns.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Star Wars Ad

A Month’s Worth of Fun School Lunches!

The month of September was a difficult one for my kids and me. Don’t get me wrong–my boys have been having a WONDERFUL time at kindergarten, and they’re thriving, but it was definitely a month of transitions and of mommy being stretched reeeeeeeally thin, at times. My husband was traveling for work for half the month, so I had to do everything alone. This wasn’t the first time he’s traveled for work, but it was the first time I was home with SCHOOL-AGED children. Getting kids ready for school, dropping them off, picking them up–all on a strict schedule–is exhausting. Really, really exhausting. And to top it all off, all 3 of my kids have been sick at some point during my husband’s 2 weeks out of town. Figures… :-p

Anyway, one way I’ve been able to squeeze in some creative crafting time during the past month while barely managing to keep my head above water is with my boys’ school lunches. Something productive (that has to be done) and something pretty in one!

So here’s my month’s worth of fun (and easy) school lunches with brief descriptions of how I made them:

Some helpful tips about making school lunches:

  • Make a weekly schedule. It takes a bit of time to put a weekly meal schedule together, but it ends up saving time in the long run. Plus, it alleviates the stress of “WHAT AM I GOING TO PACK FOR LUNCH!!!” the night before. Here’s a free printable for planning a week’s worth of meals.
  • There are many, many tools to make your life easier such as cookie cutters, cute bento-box animal picks, rice molds, and nori cutters. Living in Korea, I have easy and inexpensive access to many of these items, but they’re also available on Amazon. For “specialty” bento box tools such as the animal picks and nori cutters, just do a quick search.
  • Prep as much as you can the night before. I usually prep fruits and vegetables the night before and stick the containers in the fridge. That just leaves rice balls and/or sandwiches for the morning. Keep in mind that some foods don’t reheat very well (such as the rice balls) so those must be prepped the morning off. Nori must also be used immediately after cutting. The humidity in the room will cause it to curl (or dry out too much) if you wait too long after cutting it to use it. This is why nori-cutters are so useful!
  • Leftovers are your friend! During the week, I specifically make a couple of dinners with leftovers for lunch in mind. Also, serve breakfast for lunch. Kids won’t mind! One of the biggest challenges for me is thinking about lunch-appropriate meals, but who says they have to eat “lunch” at lunch time? Egg mari is a popular side dish in Korean cuisine, so I make it fairly regularly for my kids. It’s basically just a sliced up omelet. I also make bacon, egg, cheese and toast muffins, which are technically a breakfast food, but the kids love it. They’ll eat it for breakfast before they go to school, then eat it again for lunch the same day. 😉

For me, packing my kids’ lunches is something I enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it and don’t stress about not doing enough for your children! When I started posting photos of my kids’ lunches on Instagram, my friends began responding with things like “You’re making me feel like a crappy mom.” 🙁 First of all, my kids would be just as happy with a plain ham and cheese sandwich, a bag of chips and an apple EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. They don’t need or ask for variety. Secondly, by the time they open their lunch boxes at school, my cute little bento creations are a COMPLETE MESS. Their lunch box goes into their backpacks every morning. And every morning, they run down the stairs of our apartment building. They run from the car to their classroom. They may even fall down, roll down a hill, jump over puddles, do a few jumping jacks, or run an obstacle course on their way. I’ve joined them for lunch from time to time, and their bento boxes are utterly unrecognizable. So basically, their lunches are for photographic purposes only. 😉 I do, however, show the boys their lunches before I put their lunch boxes into their backpacks so it’s not a complete waste. Haha!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed!

Happy Lunch-Making!

DIY Rainbow War Party for Kids!

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy (thus my absence from the blogiverse lately). We have a 17 year old relative visiting from the States–and OMG is having a teenager in the house a lot of work! During his 14 day stay, we’ve managed to: visit the National Museum of Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Korean War Memorial and Musem, have our feet chewed on by little fish in Myeongdong, see the Jump! show at Kyunghyang Art Hill, play mini-golf, and eat all kinds of food our small-town, middle American teenager had never even heard of before. On top of that, I’ve been knee-deep in planning for a kids’ color war party, and despite feeling overwhelmed by all the things… The teenager is flying out tomorrow full of new experiences and wonderful memories (hopefully!), and the color war party was a huge success!

The party was inspired by a very talented photographer and friend, Zayda Barros. She wanted to photograph a color war, but since she doesn’t have kids (yet!), she asked me to help throw a party of EPIC proportions. 😉 And because I love planning parties, I ran with it and this is what happened:

color war

 

Since I knew that a professional was snapping away, I didn’t take very many photos… And I’m much too impatient to wait until her photos are ready to post to write this post, so apologies for my crap photos and I’ll have some beautiful ones to share soon!

UPDATE: Thank you to the very talented Zayda Barros for these beautiful photos!

Here what planning our Rainbow War Party entailed and some tips for planning your very own color war party!

Location:

Obviously, this is an outdoor activity! We planned our party for a public picnic area that was somewhat secluded, giving kids enough room to run around and throw colors without attracting too much attention. Also, access to water is important! Our picnic area came with a water faucet so kids could wash off before heading home/smearing colors all over the inside of mom’s car.

Guest List:

As with all parties, the fun begins with the guest list! We had a tough time keeping our guest list under 30 children, but we had to keep our group somewhat manageable. The color war is most appropriate for kids aged 4 and up. Our list consisted of 25 kids ranging in age from 2-9. As with all invitations for activity-based parties, be sure to thoroughly explain to parents what the party entails and be prepared to answer a host of questions! We explained: how kids should be dressed (plain white t-shirts that could be ruined during the party), what they should bring for their own child(ren) (towel and change of clothes), age-appropriateness, how long the color war would last, and how parents could help with supplies.

Activities:

Because of the toddlers and also because the color war only lasts about 20-30 minutes (depending on how much color powder you’ve prepared), we prepared other activities to keep the kids busy. Finger painting and play dough are great, colorful activities to keep kids happy and occupied as they eagerly await the beginning of the color war! I purchased finger paints, but made my own play dough (scroll down for the very simple DIY recipe!).

Finger Painting

Because I didn’t have immediate access to rolls of art paper, I just taped large sheets of white paper down to the picnic tables. Rolls of paper would definitely have worked better, but you do what you can…

Food:

Our menu consisted of pasta salad, rainbow bread sandwiches, fruit and veggie platters, M&Ms, Skittles, rainbow cupcakes and beverages–simple and colorful!

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The bread was easy but time consuming to make. There are many different ways to make rainbow bread–just do a quick Pinterest search and there are plenty of different recipes. However, I’m not much of a baker and with a million other things going on at the jkwdesigns house, I needed to make things easier for myself, not harder! So I went with pre made dough. Pilsbury French Loaf dough to be exact. 😉 I was inspired by the recipe for the Rainbow Sandwich Loaf, but I took quite a few liberties with the recipe in order to make it less labor intensive. My changes resulted in a bread that wasn’t quite as colorful as the recipe suggests, but it worked out, I saved some time, and made less of a mess. Win, win, win!

Rainbow fruit and veggie platters Rainbow treats

Decorations:

I kept decorations relatively simple since the focus was on turning our adorable little kids into colorful works of art! I made a “Taste the Rainbow” sign for the food table and individual food signs. I would have preferred white tablecloth for the tables, but supplies at my local shop were limited so I had to go with light purple. I also would have liked to hang white tablecloth as a backdrop for the color fight area, but I wasn’t able to do that either. Oh, the injustice of shopping for party supplies in a country that doesn’t really sell party supplies… 😉

Taste the Rainbow Sign

 

Also, I made water bottle labels for our Rainbow Warriors as well as juice box labels, but a friend brought them in a cooler with ice so my paper labels clearly weren’t going to work. My friend is clearly more thoughtful of the children that I am because I would have served the kids room temperature juice boxes for the purpose of aesthetics! 😉

Rainbow Warrior Water Bottles

 

The files for FREE printables can be accessed here:

Taste the Rainbow
Food Signs
Water Bottle Labels

And just for fun, I added some colored streamers around the picnic area, which ended up being more fun for the kids as we began clean-up.

Streamers

Rainbow War:

Because this party was for a photo session rather than for someone’s birthday, we asked that parents contribute color powder for the fight. They had the option of either purchasing a pack of holi powder from Amazon or making their own. I found numerous recipes for DIY color powder for color wars, but none of them worked quite as well as I had hoped. The flour-based mixtures took ages to dry (Korean summers are just too humid), and very few of us owned coffee grinders. In the end, I did quite a bit of experimenting and came up with an EASY, NO-MESS solution! (Scroll down for Color Powder Recipe!)

For the rainbow war, we pre-filled cups with a small amount of color powder. As the color war began, kids were each given one cup, then instructed to return to the table to have their cups refilled when they ran out of color. This definitely helped the battle last longer!

Color Powder

The only instructions that we gave the kids were:

1) No throwing colors directly at someone’s face.

2) If someone asks you to stop, you must stop.

All the kids were a bit shy at first, but once they got the hang of things, it was a raging battle of colors–complete with laughter and shrieks of delight! And a few tears. 😉 It was impossible to keep the little ones (2 year olds) out of the battle, so we gave in and let them make their own messes, but my daughter decided halfway through the battle that she’d had enough and just wanted me to hold her. You win some, you lose some…

If you’re planning your own color war, just keep in mind that the color and consistency of the store-bought holi powder is far superior to the DIY powder. The colors are spectacular, and the consistency is dust-like. Here’s a link to the one we purchased: Holi Powder. On the other hand, the kids couldn’t have cared less! They were just as happy with the mom-made color powder as they were with the rather pricey holi powder a couple of us ordered from Amazon. If your goal is to take photos of bright clouds of color, invest in the store-bought powder, or perhaps use the holi powder for the first round/photographs, then move on to the DIY powder to save money.

Finally, the best way to end a color war is with water because…no one doesn’t like water play on a hot summer day.

Water Balloons

 

DIY Play Dough Recipe (for 4 different colors):

Play Dough

Materials:

4 cups of flour
1 and 1/2 cups of salt
1 cup of hot water
6 teaspoons of vegetable oil
Food coloring

1. Thoroughly combine the 4 cups of flour and 1 and 1/2 cups of salt in a large mixing bowl.

2. Place 1/4 cup of hot water in 4 individual bowls. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and the appropriate amount of food coloring to each bowl. If you’re using liquid food coloring, you’ll probably want about 30 drops of each color to make a nice dark shade. If you’re using gel food coloring, use approximately 1/2 teaspoon of each color.

3. Add 1 and 1/4 cup of the flour/salt mixture to each bowl. Mix ingredients together as thoroughly as possible with a spoon (no need to get your hands dirty!). You may still have clumps and unmixed portions of the mixture.

4. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on a cutting board or other dry surface and dump the contents of one bowl onto your work surface. Kneed and combine until the play dough is no longer sticky/tacky. Repeat this step with the remaining bowls of play dough.

NOTE: Store play dough in ziplock bags or an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.

DIY Recipe for Color Powder

Materials:
3 heaping tablespoons of corn starch
Small amount of water
Food coloring

Additional materials:
Aluminum foil or saran wrap
Ziplock bags
Rolling pin

1. Place 3 heaping tablespoons of corn starch in a bowl. Add a small amount of water (approximately 4 tablespoons) and mix. The corn starch will have a strange, difficult to mix consistency. It will seem like it’s halfway between a liquid and a solid. If you’re having trouble mixing it, add a little more water.

2. Once the water/corn starch is thoroughly combined, add food coloring. As the mixture dries, the color will lighten slightly so be liberal with the food coloring! I used 30 drops of food coloring in each batch, and the colors weren’t quite as dark as I would have liked.

3. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or saran wrap and pour the mixture onto the cookie sheet. For faster drying, pour the mixture into small globs. The bigger the glob, the longer it will take to dry. Being a rather impatient person, I poured my mixture in thin lines. Dried super fast!

4. Allow the mixture to sit for as long as it takes to DRY COMPLETELY. It will become brittle and break into pieces when it is completely dry. In our humid, non-air conditioned apartment, it took about 2 hours.

Color Powder 1

5. Break the dried mixture into pieces and place in a ziplock bag. I just picked up the edges of the aluminum foil and poured the pieces into the bag. Press most of the air out of the bag and begin rolling over the mixture with a rolling pin to break it back into a powder. Voila! Color powder!

Color Powder 2

NOTE: If you make the color powder in advance, I would recommend storing it in bowls or containers WITHOUT a lid. If the container is sealed, condensation will begin to form and the powder will become mushy. Not the look you’re going for. 😉

 

Disclosure: This post contains links to products on amazon.com. These are products that I purchased and used for my own projects with no compensation. However, if you click on the link and purchase the product, I will receive a small fee from Amazon.com.
* * * * * * * * *
jkwdesigns.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
* * * * * * * * *

Pattern: Crochet Dragonfly Applique

A very talented artist and photographer friend of mine requested a flower lens buddy with a dragonfly on it. You can see her work on her blog The Dragonfly Whispers My Name, and I highly recommend her if you live in Seoul and are searching for a family photographer! Here’s a photo she recently took of my family:

Marisa Johnson Photography

 

So for someone so creative and talented, I really couldn’t just make her any ‘ole dragonfly. I used the Flower Lens Buddy pattern and started experimenting with dragonflies!

flower and dragonfly lens buddy

The first one I made (on the white flower w/ pink center) looked a bit too much like a butterfly, so I elongated both the body and the wings. There was quite a bit of crocheting and frogging going on… But the result is a dainty little dragonfly appliqué pattern for your crocheting pleasure!

crochet dragonfly applique

If you sell items made using this pattern or any pattern published/written by jkwdesigns, please add a link to this site (www.jkwdesigns.com) on your listing!

Materials:

Worsted weight yarn
4.5mm (size G) crochet hook
Tapestry needle (for sewing pieces together and weaving in ends)

**You may use other weights of yarn an appropriately sized hooks**

Finished Dimensions:

With worsted weight yarn and 4.5mm crochet hook: 5.5 inch wingspan x 3 inches tall
With DK weight yarn and 4.0mm crochet hook: 4.5 inch wingspan x 2.5 inches tall

Pattern:

Body: Ch 16. Work all the stitches in the back bar only. Dc in 3rd ch from hook. Dc in next ch. Hdc in next 5 ch. Sc in next 4 ch. Sl st in next 3 ch. Finish off.

dragonfly tutorial

dragonfly tutorial 2

Top Wings (make 2): Ch 10. Work the following stitches in the back loops only of the foundation chain. Sl st in 2nd ch from hook. Sl st in next ch. Sc in next 2 ch. Hdc in next 2 ch. Dc in next 2 ch. 6 dc in last ch. As you work the 6 dc in the last ch, the back loop of the last ch will open/loosen up. Simply pull the tail from the beginning of the foundation chain to close the hole. Then turn the piece 180 degrees and work the following stitches in the front loops only of the foundation chain. Dc in next 2 ch. Hdc in next 2 ch. Sc in next 2 ch. Sl st in last 2 ch. Finish off, leaving a long tail to sew the wings onto the body.

dragonfly tutorial 3

Bottom Wings (make 2): Ch 7. Work the following stitches in the back loops only of the foundation chain. Sl st in 2nd ch from hook. Sc in next 2 ch. Hdc in next 2 ch. 6 hdc in last ch. Then, turn the piece 180 degrees and work the following stitches in the front loops only of the foundation chain. Hdc in next 2 ch. Sc in next 2 ch. Sl st in last ch. Finish off, leaving a long tail to sew the wings onto the body.

Construction Notes: Sew the top wings onto the body, being careful to sew onto the yarn on the back of the body so that the yarn from the wings does not show through on the front of the body piece. As you sew the bottom wings onto the body, also sew the top edge of the bottom wings to the bottom edge of the top wings for stability.

Weave in all your ends and you’re done!

Pattern: Mugunghwa, the National Flower of Korea

mugunghwa crochet pattern

This flower pattern was written in memory of those who lost their lives aboard the Sewol off the South Korean coast on the morning of April 16, 2014. The mugunghwa, or the Rose of Sharon, is the national flower of Korea, and it has long held significance in Korean history and culture. Koreans have treasured the mugunghwa flower for centuries, and its name stems from the word mugung, which means immortality. The flower is incredibly resilient, so as the national flower, it reflects the enduring spirit, the perseverance and the determination of the people and culture.

But mostly, I just wanted to make something beautiful during this dark time… And as I worked on this, I thought about the stories of the heroes that have emerged like Park JiYoung, Kim KiWoong, and Jeong HyunSeon–people who gave bravely and selflessly. They truly are the epitome of what the mugunghwa flower symbolizes. Their spirit endures…

If you sell items made using this pattern or any pattern published/written by jkwdesigns, please add a link to this site (www.jkwdesigns.com) on your listing!

Materials:

Small amount of worsted weight yarn (in 2 colors for flower and yellow for stamen)
4.00mm crochet hook (size G)
tapestry needle

A note on colors: While the flower can be made in a variety of colors of your choice, the mugunghwa that serves as the Korean national flower is the dansim variety, which has a dark pink or red center. It is most commonly found in light pink with a dark pink/red center or in white with a dark pink/red center. Other varieties are the baekdal (pure white) and the yeesadal (pale pink flower with darker pink specks on the petals).

Flower Pattern:

Round 1: With Color A, make a magic loop and make 5 sc in the loop. Pull yarn tightly to close hole. Do not cut yarn.

Round 2: Attach Color B to beginning of round and ch 5. Sl st in next sc to join. Continue to Ch 5 and sl st in next sc until you reach beginning of round. Last sl st should be in the beginning sc. Finish off and cut yarn.

Round 3: In Round 3, you will be making individual petals, one at a time, while continuing to work in the round, eliminating the need to sew individual petals onto the center.

Row 1 of petal: With Color A, sc in back loop only of each of the 5-ch. [5 sc] Ch 1 and turn.
Row 2 of petal: Sc in first 2 st. 2 sc in next st. Sc in last 2 st. [6 sc] Ch 1 and turn.
Row 3 of petal: Sc in first 2 st. 2 sc in next st. Sc in last 3 st. [7 sc] Ch 1 and turn.
Row 4 of petal: Sc in first 3 st. 2 sc in next st. Sc in last 3 st. [8 sc] Ch 1 and turn.
Row 5 of petal: Sc in first st. Dc in next st. Sl st in next st. Ch 2. Dc in next 3 st. Ch 2 and sl st in same st as last dc. Dc in next st. Sc in last st. Sl st evenly down left side of the petal (4 sl st). The last sl st should be at the bottom of the petal.
Petal complete.

Continue on to the next petal by returning to the next 5-ch and beginning again with Row 1 of petal. Repeat the petal pattern 4 more times and complete the flower with a sl st in the first st of the first petal.

mugunghwa tutorial
1) View of work once Round 2 is complete. 2) Sc into back loops only of each 5-ch. 3) View of work once one petal is complete. 4) View of work once all 5 petals are complete (prior to sewing down petals and adding stamen).

 

Finish off and leave a long tail to pin the petals in place. The petals overlap one another on one side, creating a slight swirl of petals as they emerge from the center of the flower. Using a tapestry needle, simply stitch the petals in place on the back of petals. Weave in ends.

Stamen:

Ch 11. 2 sc in 2nd ch from hook. 2 sc in each ch. Finish off, leaving a long tail to stitch stamen to center of flower. The piece that you have just made will curl in on itself. Carefully tighten the coil and use the tail to stitch the coil together so that it remains coiled. Sew onto the center of the flower. Weave in ends.

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mugunghwa

Pattern: Flower Lens Buddy

flower lens buddy

I have several wonderfully talented photographer-friends, which is great for someone who loves to make things for babies and young children. In addition to all the adorable photo props I’ve made for them and their tiny clients, they’ve been requesting some camera-specific items, the camera buddy or lens buddy being one of them. I currently have several in the works, and eventually, the patterns will be available for purchase, but here’s a pattern for one I whipped up for a friend. It’s quick and easy, and such a great way to get little ones to LOOK AT THE CAMERA!!! 😉

 

If you sell items made using this pattern or any pattern published/written by jkwdesigns, please add a link to this site (www.jkwdesigns.com) on your listing!

Materials:

Small amounts of worsted weight yarn (two colors)
5.0mm crochet hook (size H)
Elastic hair tie
Tapestry needle (optional, for weaving in ends)

Pattern:

With Color A (for center of flower)
Round 1: 36 sc around the elastic hair tie. Sl st to join with first sc. [36 sc]

Crochet elastic hair tie

Round 2: Ch 1. 2 hdc in 1st sc. Hdc in next 3 sc. *2 hdc in next sc. Hdc in next 3 sc. Repeat from * around. Sl st to join with first hdc. [45 hdc] Finish off and cut yarn.

With Color B (for petals)
Round 3: Attach yarn. Ch 1. *Sc in 1st, 2nd and 3rd st. Ch 2, turn. Dc in 1st st (the 3rd sc you just made before turning). 2 dc in next st. Dc in 3rd st. Ch 2, turn. Dc2tog 2 times. Sl st evenly down the left side of the petal, making the last sl st at the base of the first petal. One petal made. Moving on to the next st in the round, continue from * and repeat around until you reach the end. [15 petals] Sl st to beginning st of 1st petal to join. Finish off and weave in ends.

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Easter Egg Decorating Ideas

easter eggs

Decorating Easter eggs is one of my all-time favorite holiday activities. I love it even more than decorating the Christmas tree, which is saying a lot! Maybe it’s the spring season in general, or the bright, vibrant colors of dyed eggs, or the fact that I can experiment with different styles… I love it. And there’s a teeny little part of my brain that just wants to dye eggs all by myself while the kids are asleep… But I couldn’t deprive them of the fun of dyeing eggs!

This year, my 5 year old boys were fascinated, and they were actually interested in my long-winded explanation of why leaving the eggs in the dye longer made the eggs a darker shade. And since we did a bit of experimentation with “dipping” the eggs in different colors, we also talked about combining and making new colors.

Because I was decorating eggs for an Easter party we hosted, I had loads other prep work to do so I just bought a PAAS dye kit in their standard colors and dyed the eggs. The colors came out beautifully. Last year, we dyed eggs with regular ole’ food coloring, and the colors were surprisingly vibrant as well. This year, I was hoping to experiment with dyeing with food–blueberries, turmeric, beets–but I just didn’t have the time.

Instead, I did a bit of experimenting with dip dyeing (dyeing small sections at a time) and washi tape.

Dip dyeing eggs

Dip dye easter eggs

Dip dyeing eggs is super easy–easy enough for kids–and the results are beautiful. The most important aspect of dip dyeing is being careful not to shift, jostle, shake, or otherwise move the egg and cup once you’ve placed the egg in the dye. You’ll need a dye kit and several small cups for the various dyes. Some kits come with cups, and you can use those, but if you’re planning to use food coloring to dye your eggs, small paper cups work great (I used Dixie cups). The process is as simple as pouring a SMALL amount of the dye mixture that you’ve created into a cup and only dyeing a small portion of the egg at a time. The longer the eggs are in the dye, the more vibrant the color. I generally leave my eggs in for 15-30 minutes, so dip dyeing eggs takes quite a bit of time, especially considering the dry time.

 

Once you remove the egg from the first cup, place it on a drying rack and allow the dye to dry before dipping it in the next color. Do not rush the process! If the dye is not given time to dry, the first color will bleed into the second color. When the first color is dry, place the egg carefully into the next color, allowing some overlap with the first color.

Repeat the process if you’d like to add a third color.

This process works well with contrasting colors as well as a single color. The dip dyed eggs were my kids’ favorites. When I took the first egg out of its third color, my Lincoln exclaimed, “Mommy, that’s BEAUTIFUL!”

Washi Tape Eggs

Washi Tape Easter EggsAs much as I loved the dip dyed eggs, these were my FAVORITE. I love geometric design, and I adore how these came out. The only things you need for this is some washi tape, scissors and wax paper. Simply cut small triangles of washi tape and place them on the wax paper for easy peeling. When you have about a billion little triangles cut, start sticking them on!

washi tape easter eggKeep the triangles as small as possible while still manageable. If the triangles are too large, you’ll end up with creases in the tape. Washi tape is wonderfully thin and adheres really well to eggshells, so it’s really perfect for decorating eggs.

I had a little fun and made my boys a surprise heart egg. I placed a small piece of washi tape on wax paper, folded it in the half and cut out a heart, peeled the heart shape from the wax paper, and stuck it on the egg. My boys didn’t see me do it, and I handed them the eggs without showing the hearts to them, so when they removed the eggs from the dye cups, and I later (very surreptitiously) peeled the washi tape off (once the eggs were dry), they were thrilled to find little hearts on eggs dyed their favorite colors! Gotta keep my babies on their toes!

IMG_7251

Despite wanting to take control of all the egg dyeing, I let go of my desire to do it all on my own, and my kids were thrilled to be a part of the process. I think next year, we’ll do a bit more kid-friendly egg decorating, and maybe I’ll spend an evening working on my own eggs. When the kids are asleep. 😉

 

10 Easy and Fun Easter Crafts for Kids

10 fun and easy easter crafts for toddlers and preschoolers

In addition to my attempts to keep my children happy and occupied, we regularly attend a playgroup for children ages 0-5. Each week, a mom volunteers to lead activities for the group, and my turn is up–just in time for Easter! Fueled by my Pinterest addiction, I’ve put together a list of fun and easy craft activities for the toddler/preschool bunch. Some require parents to pre-cut and prepare, but most are very simple and can be completed by preschool-aged children with minimal parental intervention (yay!).

1. Coloring Pages and Other Free Printables

Sometimes, something as simple as a printout can keep your kids happy! My kids love to draw and color, and it’s also something that my 2 year old can do with her big brothers, so I keep coloring pages, paper and crayons available at all times. Helps me get through dinner prep without a 2 year old attached to my leg.

Free coloring pages and activity sheets from Spoonful
Free coloring pages and activity sheets from Spoonful
Several free printable Easter-themed mazes
Several free printable Easter-themed mazes
25 pages of Easter coloring pages from kidsactivitiesblog.com
25 pages of Easter coloring pages from kidsactivitiesblog.com
Free Easter coloring pages from itsybitsyfun.com
Selection of free Easter coloring pages from itsybitsyfun.com
Free Easter activities printables pack from Gifts of Curiosity
Free Easter activities printables pack from Gifts of Curiosity
Giant Easter egg coloring page (6 page printable) from Mr. Printables
Giant Easter egg coloring page (6 page printable) from Mr. Printables

2. Bunny Ears

Who doesn’t love bunny ears? All you really need is construction paper and tape, but if free-hand drawing bunny ears seems a bit daunting, then check out these links for DIY bunny ears that include templates!

Free printable bunny ears in blue and pink from Kaden's Corner
Free printable bunny ears in blue and pink from Kaden’s Corner
Bunny ears headband w/ printable template from HGTV
Bunny ears headband w/ printable template from HGTV
Free printable bunny ears from bigdotofhappiness.com
Free printable bunny ears from bigdotofhappiness.com

 3. Textured Easter Egg Art

Textured Easter Egg Art
Textured Easter Egg Art from Gummy Lump

This is a great activity for tiny little preschool hands. It combines a sensory activity with dexterity practice, and the best part is, it can be made with any number of items leftover from other craft activities–pipe cleaners, pom poms, buttons, tissue paper, macaroni/pasta, cotton balls…


 4. Pom Pom Painting

Paint an Easter egg with pom poms from sassydealz.com
Paint an Easter egg with pom poms from sassydealz.com

Almost as fun as finger painting! Or if your kids, like mine, don’t like getting their hands dirty, they’ll love this more than finger painting. 😉


 5. Easter Egg Potato Stamping

Easter egg potato stamping activity from sassydealz.com
Easter egg potato stamping activity from sassydealz.com

Another painting activity that keeps paint off of little hands (to a certain extent) AND gets rid of those potatoes growing roots in your kitchen!


 6. Paper Plate Easter Chick

Paper plate Easter chick from simple as that
Paper plate Easter chick from simple as that

Simple and adorable! All you need for this easy craft is a paper plate, construction paper, googly eyes and glue! The feathers are a nice touch, but you could easily cut “wings” out of construction paper if you don’t have feathers on hand.


 7. Easter Suncatcher Craft

Easter suncatcher craft from mpmideas.com
Easter suncatcher craft from mpmideas.com

I love this craft–so colorful and fun. It can be made with cellophane, tissue paper, or even scrapbooking paper or construction paper. Whatever you have on hand!


 8. Yarn Easter Eggs

Yarn egg surprise tutorial by Simply Modern Mom
Yarn egg surprise tutorial by Simply Modern Mom

This one is a little on the messy side, but your kids will LOVE it! Especially the balloon-popping part. 😉 And a hint–you don’t have to use expensive Modge Podge for this project. Regular white school glue mixed with water works great (1 part glue, 2 parts water).


 9. Tissue Paper Easter Eggs

Tissue Paper Easter Eggs from Connecting Family and Seoul
Tissue Paper Easter Eggs from Connecting Family and Seoul

This is truly an ingenious way for little hands to decorate Easter eggs–no messy dyes, no spills, no crying children… 😉 And they look beautiful too!


10. Bunny and Chick Easter Party Hats

Bunny and Chick Easter party hats from One Perfect Day
Bunny and Chick Easter party hats from One Perfect Day

This is a great project for a party or group of kids to work on. The best part is the free template, and your kiddos can decorate it however they’d like–big ears, little ears, feathers, button eyes… Let them get creative and have a crazy hat fashion show!

 

So now… My only problem is… which activities to choose for play group this week??

You can see more of my obsessive Easter pinning on Pinterest! 😉 Happy Crafting!

Pattern: Simple Flower with Layered Petals

free flower pattern

I like knitting and crocheting things in as few pieces as possible, mainly because I really hate hand-sewing. And weaving in ends. This flower is very similar to the Quick and Easy 5 or 6 Petal Flower pattern, but you’ll be adding a round of chains to the back of the previous round’s petals to add layers. Sounds way more complicated than it is. Just check out the pics to see how it’s done!

This flower can be made with any weight yarn and an appropriate crochet hook. With worsted weight yarn and a size 4.5 mm crochet hook, the flower is approximately 3 inches across.

If you sell items made using this pattern or any pattern published/written by jkwdesigns, please add a link to this site (www.jkwdesigns.com) on your listing!

Crochet Flower w/ Layered Petals

©jkwdesigns – This pattern is for personal or charitable use only. Please do not repost or distribute the pattern, and please link back to this pattern page if you share your lovely little bow creations on your website or blog. Thank you!

Round 1: Begin with a magic loop/magic circle. Depending on the number of petals you would like on your flower, sc 5 or 6 (or more!) into the magic loop. Pull tightly to close loop. Sl st to join with first sc in round.

magic loop

Round 2: Ch 2. 2 dc, ch 2 and sl st into the first sc. *Ch 2. 2 dc, ch 2 and sl st into the next sc. Repeat from * until you reach the end of the round.

crochet flower

Round 3: You will be creating the “base” for your next round of petals. Ch 1. Sc into the BACK of the first petal by inserting the hook under a strand of yarn from EACH of the 2 double crochets of the first petal. The reason for grabbing 2 strands is to prevent pulling on one stitch and deforming the petal as you work around. *Ch 2, sc into the back of the next petal. Repeat from * until you reach the beginning of the round. Sl st to join with the 1st sc.

crochet flower

Round 4: This round creates the 2nd round of petals. *Ch 2. In ch-2 space: 4 dc, ch 2, sl st to join. Repeat from * in the next ch-2 space until you reach the beginning of the round.

crochet flowercrochet flower

Round 5: This round creates the base for the 3rd round of petals. Ch 2. Sc into the back of the first petal of round 2. *Ch 3, sc into the back of the next petal. Repeat from * until you reach the beginning of the round. Sl st to join with the 1st sc.

crochet flower

Round 6: This round creates the 3rd round of petals. *Ch 2. In ch-3 space: 2 dc, 2 trc, 2 dc, ch 2, and sl st to join. Repeat from * in the next ch-3 space until you reach the beginning of the round.

crochet flower

Finish off and weave in ends.

If you’d like to make your flower larger and more elaborate, just add petals and extra layers!

crochet flower

For extra petals:

In round 1, add an extra sc for each additional petal. If you would like a 7 petal flower, make 7 sc. For an 8 petal flower, make 8 sc. I don’t recommend making more than 8 petals as the more petals you add, the more the petals curl in on themselves. Continue with the rest of the pattern.

For extra layers:

After round 6, you will need to make an additional base round for the next round of petals. Also, the petals in each subsequent round need to be larger than the petals in the previous round. So in the 7th round, ch 4 between each sc into the back of each petal. Then, in round 8, you’ll want to ch 2, 2dc, 4trc, 2dc, ch 2, and sl st to join in each ch-4 space for each petal.

For each subsequent layer of petals, make the ch-space longer by one chain, then add 2 trc to the petal.

Pattern: Quick and Easy 5 or 6 Petal Flower

I’ve been making this quick and easy flower for years now. It’s a great way to use up scraps, and it’s a cute appliqué for headbands, baby booties, and with a hair clip and some glue, it’s adorable in little girls’ hair!

All you need is a small amount of scrap yarn and an appropriate crochet hook for the yarn. It can be made in any weight. I personally love tiny little flowers and use fingering yarn or dk weight yarn with a 3.0mm or 3.5mm crochet hook, but I’ve made them with worsted weight yarn as well with great results.

IMG_6724

If you sell items made using this pattern or any pattern published/written by jkwdesigns, please add a link to this site (www.jkwdesigns.com) on your listing!

Quick and Easy 5 or 6 Petal Flower Pattern

©jkwdesigns – This pattern is for personal or charitable use only. Please do not repost or distribute the pattern, and please link back to this pattern page if you share your lovely little bow creations on your website or blog. Thank you!

Begin with a magic circle/magic loop (to learn how to make a magic circle, which is wonderful for anything crocheted in the round–hats, flowers, amigurumi, etc., check out this video tutorial). All of the stitches are made in the magic loop: *Ch 2, 2dc, ch 2, sl st in magic loop. Repeat from * 4 more times for a 5 petal flower and 5 more times for a 6 petal flower. Fasten off and weave in ends (or leave a long tail if you plan to sew it onto something).

That’s it! It really is that easy!