Easter Craft: Resurrection Kites

I’m so excited about Easter. When I think about what God has done and is doing, redeeming and saving and making new life from death, I want to cry and sing and dance! The older I get, the more I see and experience suffering and see my own shortcomings, and the more exciting grace is, the more amazing it seems. And to think that all along, from the fall, God was planning this beautiful rescue of the world, of the people who had so quickly turned from Him and done so much damage…

God, you are wonderful. A good, good Father. A Redeemer, mighty to save us. All of our hope is in You!

This week as you look forward to the holiday, make this simple and pretty craft (found on kindercraze.com and makeandtakes.com) – or if you don’t have time to craft just grab a couple kites you already have and head to the park – to remember Jesus’ resurrection and God’s promise that one day we will join Him in the clouds!

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thes 4:16-17

By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also.1 Cor 6:14

I found two versions, slightly different. I like the cross center as a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice. But either way, as your make this craft with a little one in your life and hang them in the window, talk about Jesus rose from the dead and that we too will live forever with Him if we trust in Him. Jesus defeated death and even if our bodies die here, He will make them alive again- and perfect and beautiful! Never to die again.

stained-glass-kites2

http://www.makeandtakes.com/colorful-stained-glass-kites

Stained-Glass-Kites-27

http://kindercraze.com/stained-glass-kite-decorations-made/

Have fun!

UPDATE:

My daughter and I did these together and I also tried it out with a class of preschoolers. Here is what I learned:

  1. Contact Paper works OK, but wasn’t super sticky with the construction paper so it tended to come unpeeled from it. Sandwiching the kite between two pieces also tended to come apart once the kite was hung up. I don’t know if the good souls on the sites above just had a better technique than I did, but I found it frustrating so I tried using a document laminating sheets instead and they worked great! Much better results. I used this (which I had on hand from a project 10 years ago, so you may need to look for another brand if this one isn’t still around.):
    docsealer
  2. Little ones love to overlap the tissue squares a lot so make sure you teach them to have smaller overlaps if possible. If there is too much overlap then the tissue will fall off especially if you’re using contact paper. This may be solved in the final “sandwiching” part if you do it right, but it did not work for me :-/
  3. If you try to glue the tissue down it will make your kite warp and crinkle, which isn’t a big deal except that it gives the contact paper one more reason not to stick to the construction paper. With the laminating sheets I did not have to use glue at all so it made a nice flat project.
  4. If you can get the contact paper to work, you can leave a border around the kite with the top piece and it sticks to the window just like a decal – no residue left when you peel it off! So that’s handy. But make sure your window is clean. Mine wasn’t (*chagrin*) so the contact paper was less contact-y! haha

Here are the kites my daughter and I made. Technical issues notwithstanding, I love the cheeriness they bring to our window! Note – the smaller one was made with the laminating sheet as opposed to the contact paper.

kites

He is risen indeed!

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Mommy & Me Monday: Muddy Valentine

This week Pristina joined her piggy friends to make heart shapes in the mud for you. (oops) Happy muddy Valentine’s! Enjoy coloring these cards together and focus on one of the important qualities of God’s love: patience.

As I made these cards today I was convicted of my own lack of patience. My kids are home from school and have been pestering each other all morning (apparently this is the best fun they could think of). I snapped at them (more than once) and found myself counting the hours until they would be back in school and I could have peace and quiet in the house again. But then I remembered that God is slow to anger. Abounding in love. That one of the signs of the Spirit in our lives is patience (Galatians 5). That God is putting up with a lot worse in this world than irritated siblings, because His patience is so great and he wants everyone to come to Him before the end…

In Princess Pristina, the king forgave Pristina over and over again for playing in the mud – just as God is patient and forgiving toward us when we make many bad choices. Jesus told us to forgive each other 70×7 times, because we are called to be like God who generously forgives over and over.

God – love Himself – is patient.

Lord, give me your heart today, that long-suffering love, so that my kids can see how patient and kind You are to us in Jesus when we are coming up short. And thank You for your tremendous grace and patience with me.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Mommy & Me Monday Special: DIY hidden sparrow

sew sparrow
Simple Sparrow pattern

After a long break for holidays with family, Mommy & Me is back!

I hear often that the hidden sparrow search (and crown search) in Sir Bumble and Princess Pristina are a favorite feature of the books. So to continue the fun, here’s a simple sparrow you can make and hide for each other around the house! This is also a great opportunity to teach or practice sewing with an older child.

Click below to download the simple PDF pattern and instructions:

Sir Bumble sparrow pattern

And if sewing isn’t your thing, cut him out of firm construction paper and hide away!

While you’re crafting, talk about the comforting truth that Sir Bumble learned – the Holy Spirit is near to us even though we can’t see Him. Jesus promised to send His Spirit to comfort us, encourage us, give us spiritual gifts, and remind us of all Jesus taught. What a wonderful, Kingly gift!!

Verses you can read together

John 14:15-17 “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

Romans 8:26 “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Galatians 5: 16-17a, 22-23 “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

If you’d like to explore more of the what the Spirit does in our lives, go to a searchable Bible website like Biblegateway.com and do a search for Holy Spirit. And be sure to pray and ask God to help you understand these things – the Holy Spirit is here to help!

 

 

Mommy & Me Mondays: Paper Doll Pristina, round 2

Hello fellow coloring fans! This week for Mommy & Me Monday, enjoy coloring some new dresses for Pristina! (If you missed the first round of dresses, you can get them here.)

For those of you who are new to Mommy & Me Mondays (and, I guess, even if you’re not!) there are two versions of the dresses to color – one simpler version for a young child and a fancier version for you so that you can color together at your own paces and levels of interest. I hope you enjoy coloring these as much as I enjoyed drawing them. 🙂

While you color, you can talk together about this week’s Bible verse:

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

God is your loving heavenly Father and He wants to give you good things. Sometimes we do wrong things, like when Pristina kept playing in the mud and ruining her dresses. She was afraid that her new dad, the King, would be angry and send her away. But that isn’t how God acts. Once we have trusted in Jesus as our Savior and have become God’s children, He will never leave. He is not a Father to be afraid of, but one we can be so happy to have because His love never changes. He delights in us, and we can delight in Him too! You can entrust all of your desires to Him because He will always do good for you and in you.

Sometimes in my life I have felt afraid to trust God with my deep wishes and hopes. I thought He wouldn’t really care,that He had bigger things to concern Himself with. I thought He was cold and distant and serious. But as I have kept walking with Him, I have come to know Him as a God who loves me in the details. Like someone smitten with me who delights to make me smile. Once, I wanted to go to a Christian concert but had no money for it. I decided to just put it on my credit card, because it was my favorite band and I didn’t know when I would get to hear them play again. But as I stood in line a man in front of me turned around and said, “My friend can’t make it tonight, would you like his ticket?” I told him I couldn’t pay for it because I only had a credit card. But he smiled and said, “No, just take it.” I tear up even now remembering it. Because it was a frivolous kindness on God’s part. I didn’t need to go to that concert. It had no cosmic impact. Only, it did. Because God showed me His kindness in that moment and I have never forgotten. And if God is kind even in so small a thing, I know I can trust Him with even the biggest things this heart longs for.

 

 

Mommy & Me Mondays: Pristina’s Pony stick puppet

Welcome back to Mommy & Me Monday! I hope you all had a safe and pleasant Independence Day! This week, we’re adding to our stick puppet collection. When Pristina rode her pony into the mud, the pony got pretty freaked out. Now you can trot your own pony into the mud hole and act out his reaction by moving the sticks up and down and out and in! And while your little rodeo champ colors the pony, there’s a detailed background for you to contribute to the show. If you missed the last M&M post, check out the shoebox puppet theater you can make for your summer performances together!

For this craft, you’ll need two sticks (I used kebab skewers but you could also use Popsicle sticks, pencils, tinker toys, a couple strips of strong cardboard…you get the idea) and two metal brads/fasteners.

MnM 13 - Pstickhorse image1MnM 13 - Pstickhorse image3MnM 13 - Pstickhorse image2

While you color and cut and create together, talk about Philippians 2: 12-13
Therefore, my beloved…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.

Our choices don’t just affect us, they affect those around us too! Pristina walked her pony into the mud hole and when the pony panicked, it ran back through the castle knocking things and people over and leaving a mess in its wake. Her choice affected a lot of people in a bad way! And not only did it make a mess of her and her surroundings, it made the King sad.

Even though it’s hard to do the right thing sometimes, God puts His Spirit in the hearts of those who are His children. His Spirit moves in our hearts to want to do what is right and gives us the strength to do it. He is big enough to give us good desires and actions! All we have to do is say Yes to Him and seek to honor Him in everything we do. When you’re struggling to make a good choice, just tell Him! And ask His Spirit to change your heart to desire what He does.

 

 

Mommy & Me Monday: Puppet Theaters!

Last week for Mommy & Me, we made Sir Bumble stick puppets. This week you can work together to make a puppet theater for them! There are two kinds of curtains you can make. You can either color and cut out curtains (a faster method), or make actual opening-and-closing curtains if you’re feeling extra crafty (plus the kids love opening and closing them as much as making the show)!

For the faster method, just do steps 1 -3!

For the opening-and-closing curtains, do all of the steps EXCEPT Step 3

I had so much fun making these and my kids loved playing with it. I’ve tried to keep the steps simple and straight forward, and the supplies are likely to be things you have on hand at home.

So, ready? Let’s do it!

SUPPLIES

Here’s what you need for both methods:

  • A shoe box with attached lid* (My box was for size 10 shoes. Adult-size shoe boxes are going to work best for this project!)
  • colorful tissue or wrapping paper or construction paper to decorate
  • tape
  • glue
  • 2 dowels (I used Tinker Toy rods. You could also use rulers or barbecue skewers or anything rod-like and strong enough to support the cardboard box)
  • Marquee coloring page

    *You can probably also cut off one flap/side rim of a detached lid and attach the lid to the box with packing tape to get the same effect.
    .

    YOU’LL ALSO NEED…
    …FOR THE SIMPLE CURTAINS METHOD:
    Puppet theater elements - curtain art

  • Print out, color, and cut out this curtain coloring page
    .

    …FOR THE OPENING – CLOSING  CURTAINS METHOD:

  • 1 dowel (or tinker toy/barbecue skewer etc.) that is at least as long as the shoe box for a curtain rod
  • 2 “curtains” (you could use baby washcloths or any pieces of cloth that, laid side by side, cover the opening of the box. I stitched together some quilt squares I had lying around to get the patchwork look.)
  • (2)  3′ lengths of ribbon (different colors)
  • 6+ safety pins
  • 6+ twist ties or pipe cleaners or small key rings (these will act like shower curtain rings, so small ring or anything you can twist into a small circle will work.)
  • 4 small binder clips

STEP 1 (for both methods)

The theater hangs over the edge of the table so the kids can put their puppets up through the bottom. So we need to brace the lid with the dowels to keep it from folding backwards. All you need to do is tape one dowel on each side of the lid (make them close to the outside edges of the box as I did), and make sure a few inches of each dowel go out past the folded edge that attaches the lid to the box, so that once the lid is opened, the box will rest on the dowels.

TIP: Only tape the dowels to the lid, that way the box can still close for easier storage!

closed box theater

STEP 2 (for both methods)

Now we need a hole for the puppets to come up through. Turn your theater over and cut an opening in the BOX portion (not the lid) that fits between the two dowels.

 

STEP 3 – COLORING PAGE CURTAINS (Skip this step if you’re doing the full curtains)

If you’re doing the colored curtains, then you’re almost done! Go ahead and color and cut out the curtains and marquee.

Fold down the tabs on the curtain and marquee.

coloring cutains -fold

Attach curtains to sides of box by gluing/taping the tabs down.

Cover sides with tissue/wrapping paper, hiding the white tabs.

coloring curtains -1

Add theater marquee to top.

Put tissue/wrapping paper on top to cover marquee tab.

coloring curtains -2

Tape backdrop into the theater – I put a metal brad through the back, so the brass tabs would hold the background edges flat. You can also just tape it! (Note – I put my backdrop in a sheet protector to protect it from being torn while getting taped and retaped during backdrop changes in the future.)

insert BG

Voila! Place on edge of table and make your own theatrical masterpiece together!

coloring curtains -3

I’d love to see your finished theaters! Post a pic in the comments!

 

STEP 4 (Full curtains)
Now you’ll want to make your curtains if you’re feeling like sewing. As I said, I sewed quilting squares together for fun, but you can use baby washcloths or two simple single squares of cloth so long as together they cover the opening. So once you’re satisfied with that step, put safety pins along the top of the curtain on the back side. I only needed three for each of mine.

curtains pins

Now unless your curtain rod is thin enough to run through the closed safety pins, you’ll need to make some shower curtain rings. I used some pipe cleaner pieces. Loop a piece through each safety pin and twist it closed. Remember to do these steps for each curtain!

Next we need to attach the ribbons that will be pulled to open and close the curtains. We’re getting fancy here – one color ribbon, attached at the top corners, will close the curtains. The other color, attached at the middle, will open them.

Cut each length of ribbon into two equal pieces. You should end up with four ribbons, two of each color. (and each piece of ribbon should be 18″ – 24″ish)

curtains ribbons-1 det
tie ribbon to the safety pin that’s poking through the front side.
curtains ribbons-1
front of left-hand curtain

I flipped the curtains over and tied the yellow ribbons to the bit of exposed safety pin on the front leading edge of each curtain. Then I pinned the orange check ribbon to the middle of each the curtain. NOTE: Make sure you do the right edge of one curtain and the left edge of the other.

 

STEP 5

Let’s start to decorate the box before installing the curtains. Cut out and color the marquee. Fold down the tab and glue/tape to the top front edge of the theater.

Puppet theater elements - marquee art

Cut out a piece of tissue/wrapping paper for the top but don’t glue it all the way down yet. I just attached mine at the back edge with tape.

Now cover the front “stage”(the lid) and sides of the box with tissue or wrapping paper. I used green on the stage so that it could be like grass in the foreground of the performance.

pole install-binders

Place two binder clips on each side of the box as shown. If your curtain rod is long enough to poke through the sides of your box you won’t need the top binder clips (though they may add stability to your box).

 

STEP 6

Install the background you colored last week, using tape. I put mine in a sheet protector but that isn’t necessary. Just wanted to keep it safe from tape tearing it. I also put metal brads through the back of the theater so the tabs inside would hold my background edges down. You can also just use tape for that).

insert BG

 

STEP 7

Now we’re ready to install the curtains! Thread your curtains along the curtain rod, making sure the ribbons meet in the center.

curtains ribbons-2

My curtain rod is the exact width of my box, so I’ll be installing it by putting it into the binder clip handles on the inside. If your curtain rod is wider than your box, you can nix the top binder clips and poke holes through the sides of your box (where the binder clips would’ve been) instead.

 

 

STEP 8

Now we’ll thread the ribbons so that the curtains can open and close!

Attach the outside/trailing edge of each curtain to the sides of the box using the binder clip as shown.

curtain install -1
Attach left hand curtain to the left side of box with binder clip. (attach right curtain to right side)

Next, on the left hand curtain, take the middle ribbon (orange in the picture) and stick it through the handle of the bottom binder clip on the left side of the theater.

Now do the same thing for the right hand curtain, sticking the middle (orange) ribbon through the handle of the bottom binder clip on the right.

Each orange (middle) ribbon is now going toward its own side. When you pull on them, the curtains will open!

curtain install -2

Now cut a slit on the top edge of each side of the box.

curtain install -3 cut slit

 

Take the yellow (top) ribbon that’s attached to the left hand curtain and thread it through the slit we made on the RIGHT side of the theater.

curtain install -4 yellow ribbon2

Next take the yellow (top) ribbon that’s attached to the right hand curtain and thread it through the slit on the LEFT side of the theater.

curtain install -5

They’ll now criss-cross in the middle of the theater. But they also droop down. So let’s tie those guys out of the way loosely.

Take a bit of pipe cleaner or a twist tie and loop it loosely around the ribbons right at the center of the curtain rod. Make sure you leave a bit untwisted at the bottom as shown.

curtain install -7 loop -twist

Now make of hole in the ceiling, right above the center of the  curtain rod. Poke the “legs” of the twisted pipe cleaner through the hole.

curtain install -8 loop -twist insert

Now flatten out the feet on top of the box so it doesn’t fall back through.

curtain install -9 loop -twist insert top

Finally, put the top piece of tissue paper down to cover up the marquee tab and pipe cleaner.

 

theater top

 

You’re done!!

AND NOW for the SHOW!

Share photos of your theatrical masterpiece in the comments!

 

 

 

Mommy & Me Mondays: Stick Puppets

Something fun for Mommy & Me today. You can make a stick puppet show together! By flipping the puppets you can show Sir Bumble and the dragon feeling either brave or scared. Just color each side of the characters then fold them along the dotted line. Place a stick in the center and glue the sides together to make a stick sandwich. For the sparrow, you could also glue a piece of thread in the center and tie the other end to the stick (I used shish kabab skewers that I had on hand). Mommy gets to color the backdrop. And stay tuned! Next week we’ll show you how to make a fun theater for putting on your show.

While you color, talk about the things you’re scared of. And then read these verses from Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we won’t be afraid, though the earth changes,
    though the mountains are shaken into the heart of the seas;
    though its waters roar and are troubled,
    though the mountains tremble with their swelling.
Selah….

 Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations.
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46: 1-3, 10

Then together declare that “God is bigger than [say the things you are afraid of] and HE is here with me!!”

MnM 12 - SBstickP pic FI3

Mommy and Me Mondays: Colossians 3:10

This week for a fun change of pace you can dress up Pristina in her royal gowns! There are simple ones for a child to color, and fancier versions for those whose motor skills are more advanced.  🙂  I had a great time researching patterns and dress styles when I was illustrating Princess Pristina, and was disappointed I couldn’t use all of the dress designs I came up with. I thought this would be a fun way to use them afterall, and give you something fun to do with the little princess-lover in your life.

TIP: You’ll need to print the paper doll sheet on heavier paper so that it can stand up. If you don’t have any cardstock or photo paper on hand, you can simply glue the doll to a firm paper like a piece of cardboard or an old manila folder and then cut it out.

If you’ve not done paper dolls before, all you have to do is cut out each dress and the doll and stand, then color and assemble. Cut slits on the lines in the doll and the stand piece, then slide the slots into each other as shown in the picture. You can attach the dresses to Pristina by folding the tabs on the sleeves over her arms.

While I was drawing I was thinking about how in the Bible our new life in Jesus is compared to putting on new clothing. Colossians 3:12-14 says

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

And Romans 13:14 says

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Before we knew Jesus, our hearts were only full of rotten things and sin. But when we trusted in Jesus to save us, He put His own Spirit in our heart. And His Spirit is always good. When we decide to follow His prompting in our hearts, He will fill our hearts with love and lead us to do good things. But we can still choose to follow our old bad ways. We have a choice of what to “wear” every day! We have to choose to “put on Jesus” by following the Spirit rather than our selfish desires.

Sparrow plush v 2.0

Every fall I get the urge to sew something. Usually I’m satisfied after one project, but this year I’ve turned into a sewing maniac (does anyone else suddenly see Jesse Spano running in place, singing?)

After the monumental effort of my daughter’s Toothless costume, this time I wanted to try something simple. In Sir Bumble the sparrow character is there to comfort and encourage Sir Bumble, and I hid a sparrow in every illustration to highlight the fact that he was always there, even when we didn’t see him at first. Rather like the Holy Spirit whom he represents – always there to comfort and guide though we do not see him. Originally I came up with a simple pattern that just about anyone with basic sewing skills could make, so it could be hidden as a little game for kids. Like a real life hidden picture.

sew sparrow

My daughter has two I’ve made and doesn’t seem bothered one bit by their simplicity. But I needed a fresh challenge. Instead of two pieces for the body I added a back. I also made and stuffed the wings, sewing them into the body rather than simply tacking the felt ones to the side. I hoped that these new wings would be more durable, though the original’s wings have held up all right to my daughter’s affections. I also wanted to add a true tail and beak. Here’s what I came up with:

photo 2-1 sparrow top

The wings are a little puffy, but maybe that just makes him more cuddly.

It took about 3 hours. I’m hoping that now that I’ve figured out the basic pattern I can shave some time off of that. My dream is to make these as gifts to give with copies of my book, at children’s hospitals or to foster children. It was kind of neat because I had been thinking of making these but wasn’t sure if finances would allow the added fabric purchase right now. And then I’m at the fabric store and lo and behold there’s a roll of yellow fleece in the remnants bin. How could I resist? $4 and I used about a 50 cents’ worth for this bird! Hopefully the recipient of this little guy will feel all the love of God that inspired this story.