Sculpey Angel Dancing on the Head of a Pin

Sculpey Angel on the Head of a Pin

Working tiny is natural for me, I’ve been working at the micro scale for decades. I have fond memories of digging up the moss in my grandmother’s backyard and creating miniature landscapes, deconstructing worry dolls to make my own and making tiny sculpy scenes and decorated boxes. I’d often challenge myself to add as much detail as possible with pin points, tooth picks and whatever else I could makeshift into a tool.

On one particular weekend visit to my grandparent’s house, I watched a special on PBS about scientists using laser etching thousands of tiny angels on the head of a pin. Ever the confident 10 year old, I decided I didn’t need a laser to get an angel on there! I spent 2 full days glued to the kitchen counter figuring out the exact steps required to make one- even giving the tiny dancer teeth! Bursting with pride I ran over to show my 83 year old grandmother- you can imagine the scene my arm extended, holding tiny figure on the top of a pin just inches from her puzzled face…

“Grandma! Look at it!”

“Look at what? What is that?”

“It’s an angel on the head of a pin! It has even has teeth!”

She giggled, then chuckled and then cackled (it’s a family cackle- I have it too, it’s very distinctive in a joyful way) and replied “I can’t even SEE it! And you want me to see the TEETH?!”

So fast forward to today. My son Avery is a very 3-D thinker, he loves his legos- but I wanted to get him making things with a different material. I remembered how much I enjoyed sculpey when I was younger, so I treated the kids to the big 30 color pack and this afternoon we were all at the kitchen table playing. I showed them how to make a flower cane, and then how to marble colors together. It was interesting to see what each one chose to create. Avery was fascinated by color mixing, and the girls were extremely productive- churning out bead after swirly bead. Wyatt was a bit cautious at first- but he made a sweet little turtle and began a planet-bead necklace. I think he’s up to Saturn…

And I made another angel. While I had made at least a half dozen all those years ago, I really don’t believe any of them survived. They were so small- I’m sure they were accidentally vacuumed up. This one is a bit more advanced than the old ones- but after 25 years I really should have learned a thing or two!

Valentine’s Day – Woven Heart Craft

Valentine Woven Heart Craft

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner- and these simple woven paper hearts are a great snowy weekend project!

Change up the number of tabs cut into the template to increase the number of woven squares.

The paper can be a little tricky for little hands to get the hang of- so I’d suggest starting with just two tabs in contrasting colors. You can download a traceable template here. I’d suggest printing it on card stock for durability.

Take it a step further:

  • Recycle pages from old books- bonus points for love poems :).
  • Use non-woven fabric (felt/polar fleece) and ribbon to make a fun purse.
  • String several into a pennant.
  • The three-tab heart creates the perfect tic-tac-toe board! Create the ultimate Valentine’s game board, and slip some x’s and o’s inside the pouch.
  • If you’re really up for the challenge- an over-sized 8-tab heart would create a checkerboard.

This is my first illustrated-craft post, let me know how you did in the comments below. I’d love to see photos of your finished pieces!


Mitten Tamer!

When 7:30am rolls around I’m really only semi-conscious. While I need to make sure all four kids get their breakfast, medicine, coats, mittens, hats, homework, lunch, and backpacks before the bus comes at 8:08, I still find myself hitting that snooze button, repeatedly. So I am perpetually trying to get the house organized ahead of time…

I would have loved some built in cubbies in the entry-hall, but space by the door is scarce. Instead I mounted hooks in a piece of square trim and anchored it to the wall. It’s great because I can easily walk by and SEE which kid hasn’t put their stuff away- you know, if I haven’t already tripped over it.

While that handled the backpacks & coats, it still left hats & mittens to deal with. The hallway is too narrow for a shelf, and besides- shelves just tend to collect more stuff than needed. I had tried using an attractive little basket, but hats & mittens would get all jumbled. I’ve lost several nice pairs of gloves after handing them off in the mad rush because we were missing one half of a pair.

Tame the hat & mitten pile in less than 2 minutes!

And then today, I had an epiphany: warm and fuzzy hats & mittens + adhesive velcro = no more mitten pile of doom!!

Admittedly it took a little longer than two minutes, because I had to run to the fabric store. But once I got home- I just had to trim it to the length of the board and press it on. POOF! Hats & mittens are now right where they’ve left them- and you can barely see the velcro when there’s nothing attached- so it keeps the hallway looking neat & tidy.

If any of the polar fleece/nylon gloves don’t want to stick well, I’ll just sew a little inconspicuous circle of fuzzy velcro on them.

Let me know if you try it out! Can you improve on it?

The never ending school supply hunting & gathering fiasco

Most wonderful time of the year my...

I know I’m not alone. I don’t know when it started, but man- 25 years ago getting together back to school supplies was never this ridiculous. We have 4 kids- I get that the insanity is often magnified due to the sheer number of monkeys that must be managed, but the logic of sending 24+ parents on individual supply missions is an exercise in excess & waste.

The pitfalls of individual purchasing:

  • Purchasing items individually means a TON more packaging is tossed in a landfill.
  • Unlike my child’s school, I am not tax exempt.
  • Getting “the best deal” on items requires preternatural flier hunting/coupon cutting.
  • Imagine the gas that is being wasted when 20+ parents go shopping at multiple locations.
  • Further support of big box stores to get “the best deal” little guys just don’t typically have that purchase power.


  • Bobby gets to pick out a fancy folder (?)
  • Coupon gods & goddesses can find their supplies for pennies
  • Local businesses can profit from purchases (if you have one nearby)
  • Doesn’t come out of classroom budget
The packaging thing really got to me today. We try to recycle/reuse what we can from the year before- but consumables like glue sticks get perpetually eaten up and need to be replaced. One of my daughters needed 3.   These are just a typical example of how this product is packaged/non-sale price.
Ok so lets just say, for giggles, that all 20 parents in her classroom purchased the above package.
  • $40 for 60 glue sticks works out to be 67c/gluestick.
  • 20 individual car trips to various stores (assuming at least 1 school supply trip)
  • 20 plastic “blister” shells and 20 full color printed cardboard sheets tossed/recycled (hopefully- but still lots of energy in creation/recycling)
Replace this instead with the purchase of two 30 packs:

  • $18 for 60 glue sticks (now down to 30c/gluestick)
  • 1 car trip by ONE dedicated shopper or single delivery by PO/UPS
  • 2 thin cardboard packages (in this case, again full color printing) easily recyclable.
And this is just the glue sticks!! WTH people?! WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?! I get that it’s not covered in our local school budget IMOHO it should- BUT does anyone have a good example of a PTA or a parent/group run org setting up a fundraiser by selling a “pack” to incoming students? I’m thinking a checklist that can be filled in at the end of the spring of the previous year for items that can’t be re-used? (and then a few parent volunteers to help sort them into classroom boxes) Any other ideas? Ok, back to packing this shtuff up, I’ve got to get some sleep Larry & I are building a back to school balloon scene for a local elementary (in a district that DOESN’T send parents out for supplies… le sigh)

Microcrochet on display at the Strong Museum of Play (hooray!)

Come on, if you had the chance to rhyme that many words in a row, you know you’d do it too ;-).

Here’s a sneak peek of a few of the pieces that will be on display, sorry I don’t have any of the finished “larger scenes” you’ll just have to stop by in person! I’ll be there on August 20th between 1 and 4 doing demonstrations (though I need to figure out how I’m going to have lots of people see something that’s @ 1/2 inch tall being constructed… Should I do macro-crochet so they can see? Or does that defeat the purpose?! If you’ve got any suggestions that I can put together before Sat, let me know in the comments below-

UPDATE: Super-crazy excited to say these little guys were featured on the CRAFT blog! :-) But I just realized that I didn’t mention the Whimsical Art exhibit will be on display August 20-November 20th 2011, so you’ve got a few months to get a chance to see my work as well as artwork by my partner Larry Moss, and good friend Rob Rogalski. Let me know what you think of the show!