Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Sew a Hexagonal Game Board

I have been wanting to make a hexagonal game board forever... You can play lots of abstract strategy games on this board, including hexagonal chess and three player hexagonal chess.

I've been thinking about how to make a hexagonal board with ease, and when I went through my material stash and found this material with hexes already printed on it, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. But if you are a sucker for punishment, here is a link to a blog post by Candice of Sew Says You with awesome pictures of how to make quilt-as-you-go hexies.

So, this is the not-really-quilted game board I mentioned I was working on in my Placemat Game Boards post.

It is double sided, with a 91 cell honeycomb board (the more common one) on the blue side, and a 127 cell honeycomb board on the pink side.

Board Game Geek has a list of games you can play on a few different sizes:

127 Cell Honeycomb Board set up for Batalo

I went through the internet printing off a myriad of board game rules and boards quite a few years ago, and I remember a game akin to paper scissors rock played with a queen, horse and bishop on a hexagonal board. I can't find it again, but I'm hoping it is with the stuff I printed off. I can't access it at the moment as it is in storage, but when I can, I'll have the board ready.

I did find a similar game on another site Pair of Dice Games where you can download a printable board, rules and counters.

Materials Needed to Make a Hexagonal Game Board:

  • wool quilt batting
  • hex printed material (in two colours)
  • thin ribbon to outline the board
  • thick ribbon for edging
  • co-coordinating and contrasting thread

How to Sew a Hexagonal Game Board:

Decide how many cells you would like in your honeycomb board. Cut a square of batting slightly larger than the area taken up on your material by that number of hexagons. Fold it into quarters and mark the center with a pin.

Unfold the batting and place your first colour of hex printed material on top. This will be your smaller board. Line up the center pin with the mid-point of the central hex of your board. Pin the material to your batting.

Pin each hex and batting together around the outside edge of your board to make it easier to follow where you are going for the next step.

Sew through the middle of a ribbon along the outer edge of your game board so you can easily see where it ends when you are playing. Remember to melt the ends with a match to prevent the ribbon fraying.

With your needle firmly planted in the corner of each hex edge, lift the foot and pivot your material and ribbon ready to sew the next edge.

 Pin back the material out of the way. Turn your board over and place your other colour on top, again lining up the center pin with the mid-point of your central hex. Also make sure your boards are oriented the same way. Pin each hex and batting together around the outside of your larger board. You can turn the batting over to check they are lined up OK before you sew the next step.

 Sew a line of fancy stitch in a contrasting colour around the edge of your larger board. A fancy stitch is wider and will be more visible than a normal stitch. You will need to to this on the actual side you are outlining so you can see where you are going. My picture is of the other side so you can see why you need to pin the under side back (that way you won't get two outlines on the smaller board).

Unfold the fabric from underneath and Cut off the excess from your board. Leave enough room for your binding ribbon to stay clear of your contrast stitching.

Sandwich your thick ribbon around the outer edges of your boards and sew down. I stopped and started a new line of sewing for each side. 

At the corner I only sewed until I reached a pin I had placed perpendicular to the outer board hex, and then back stitched. That gave me room to fold the ribbon for the next side. When you get to the end, fold the ribbon under itself before sewing the last section down.


And why not take the opportunity to talk about different strategies - Satan's, God's, and ours in how we can reach other people with God's love...

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Psalm 100 - Sheep of His Pasture Quiet Book Page

In Psalm 100, we are likened to being sheep in God's pasture.

Memory Verse: "Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture." Psalm 100:3 (NIV).

Materials needed to create the Sheep of His Pasture quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used white.
  • sheep button/s
  • farm, sheep or pasture scene material
  • tulle (soft is better)
  • sewing thread
  • texta
  • paper, ruler, pen... or this free template (this is my first attempt at embedding - if you can't access the template please let me know; I also apologise that Tahlia got to it and drew all over it before it got scanned... you should still be able to use it though!)

Before starting on this page, you may want to check out a very similar page I made for a Puzzle Quiet Book Page Swap. You might prefer the method I used there. It is more of a traditional button maze, whereas this page uses more of a marble maze design (although I am using a button not a marble).

1. If you want to make your own template, cut out a sheet of paper slightly larger than the size you want your maze to be and use it to mark out where you want your lines to go. Make sure there is enough room for your button to move between the lines, including extra space which will be taken up by the zig zag stitch.

I got my inspiration from Joan Ellis, a fellow member of the Quiet Book Club group on Facebook. She posted pictures of marble maze designs she had made, and she has kindly allowed me to share them with you!

EDIT - 2 photos have been removed

Her instructions for making actual marble mazes from material are as follows: Simply cut two same size rectangles. Stitch right sides together and leave a two inch opening. Turn right side out, press. Draw in your maze, stitch the lines securing the end and beginning of each seam, slip in the marble and sew closed. 

To make a template, use a clear ruler. Make the spaces 3/4 inch for a peewee and 1 inch for a player sized marble. To leave room for top stitching all around, she starts with a 1 inch margin around the edges and works her way in.

If you live in the Albuquerque area of New Mexico, USA, you should definitely check out Hip Stitch, a quilting store and sewing lounge where Joan teaches sewing and does free monthly demonstrations. They sell ready made marble mazes and kits so you can make your own. They even offer private sewing classes at a VERY affordable rate. Unfortunately Joan has already done a marble maze demo this year, but I'm sure if you asked nicely she could organise another at some point!

EDIT - 2 photos have been removed

I chose this last example of a continuous loop as I don't imagine that God's pasture has any dead ends!

2. Use your or my free template to cut out your scene material and tulle. Lay your material over the top of your maze template and use a texta to copy the maze lines onto your material if you are able to see through to do it. Otherwise copy them onto your tulle. I did it both ways and found it easier if the lines were marked on the material rather than the tulle because the tulle moves around a lot and it is more difficult to get the lines in the right spot when you are sewing.

3. Sew the material and tulle together along the outer edge of the maze, remembering to slip a button in between before you get to the end. You could use a few buttons, but mine have a flock already painted on them. Also, I didn't want to run into another button on the way around which might slow momentum on a continuous loop.

4. Clip the corners and fold the edges under. Pin it onto your background felt and sew it down around the edges using a zig zag stitch with a very small stitch length. Sew over the maze lines you marked on your material with the same zig zag stitch.


Difficulty Level = Easy

You need very little skills to make this page :)

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Psalm 100 - This page tells about how we are like sheep in God's pasture
  • Imaginative Play - Pretend you are a sheep in the pasture, or a dog rounding up the sheep in the pasture, feed your sheep on a lush pasture of chamomile or burdock, etc
  • Button/Marble Maze - push and pull your button along a path
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skill development
  • Hand-eye Co-ordination - all quiet books encourage hand-eye co-ordination

 Read the Chapter

Psalm 100


Coincidentally or not, the number of this Psalm is also the number of sheep in the flock before one goes missing in Jesus' parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15).

As a farmer's daughter, I love the fact that God compares us to sheep rather than goats...

"Dumb sheep ahead" was tweeted by Adam Marshall on the 16th of March 2014.
Sheep are well known as being rather stupid. I don't think God is calling us stupid, so please hear me out.

We had both sheep and goats on our farm. If the sheep got out of the paddock and were wandering on the road, they had no idea how they got there, and you would have to take them around and open the gate for them to get back in. If the goats got out onto the road, they knew exactly how they got there and would often dart back through the same hole they had found/made. Goats are mischievous. I guess my point is that God is not laying blame on us, He is giving us the benefit of the doubt so to speak, saying we are a bit silly for getting lost or into trouble rather than saying we are aiming for it. What do you think?

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Chicken in a Manger - Two Versions

Reuse the manger at your church during the rest of the year with this creative idea...

I took Tahlia to Bible class at a church in Melbourne, and she absolutely loved one of the play activities they had for the littlies. They had put some stuffed chickens in the manger and they were sitting on blown eggs. There were empty egg cartons so they could go egg collecting! She loved it so much, I had to come home and make something similar.

When I told my friend about the plan, she hunted the net and found a pattern for a stuffed chicken that lays eggs. With the temptation of even more ways to play, she convinced me to make that version rather than the very simple version I had shown her photos of.

I would like to show you both versions!

Easy No-Sew Chicken 

This chicken is very basic, but still such wonderful fun! It consists of three main pieces of felt hot glued together, plus the wings, comb and wattle. You can hot glue them on too. Just use a colouring page of a large chicken like this one and use it as a template to cut out your pieces. You may have to print it out a couple of times to get all the pieces.

Here is a diagram showing the names of the various chicken parts:

Image Source

Depending on the colouring page you choose, glue the two side pieces together to about an inch under the wattle, and a couple of inches down the tail. Perhaps on the one I suggested, you might want to only glue to the edge of the wattle and the tip of the tail.

Once it is dry, spread the sides out and sit it on a piece of paper so you can tip it back and forth and mark some beginning, end and middle points so you can draw a rough eye/segment shape on a piece of paper for the bottom section. It may help to stuff the unfinished chook first to get a more accurate shape. When you are happy with it, cut it out of felt and hot glue it to the bottom edges, leaving room so you can stuff it if you haven't already. Then complete the gluing.

Wait until it is stuffed to glue on the wings so you get a better idea of where they look good. You can glue on the wattle and comb now too, and add eyes if you like. Or you could just draw or paint them on instead.

Collecting the eggs was tonnes of fun!!

Here is a YouTube demo of how to blow eggs out of their shells so you can use them for collecting:

Egg-Laying Chicken:

The pattern is available to purchase from ikatbag. Here are a couple of her photos:

Her pattern comes with a pattern for a chick too!

The pattern recommends you use knit material. I made mine out of felt, and am regretting it. It is started to pill immediately. And as you may already know, I like to double my felt whenever it is not attached to anything else, such as the collar and tail.  Because of that it was rather difficult to sew some sections together, particularly where the the tail joins the body. I did get a little confused with the egg channel - don't try the more difficult sections late at night when you really just need to go to bed! Go to bed!!!

I used a cardboard glad wrap tube to fill the egg channel while I stuffed the chicken so it would leave enough room for the eggs to fit through.

My friend who convinced me to make this version made the orange one...

Why not add a duck in there too!

I made 'hay' by ripping up some calico off cuts into strips. I think it would have made it easier for the chicken to sit on the eggs better if I had made some more.

I bought some rubber bouncing eggs after Easter - they bounce unevenly and are hard to catch. They look very realistic until you touch them.

Relating Chickens In Church...

  • Which came first, the chicken or the egg?? We know the answer to that one as God made everything mature in the Garden of Eden.
  • Jesus said He wanted to gather the Israelite's under His wings like a mother hen, but alas they were unwilling. See Matthew 23 and Luke 13.
  • Ask, Seek, Knock!  “Is there any father here who, if his son asked him for a fish, would instead of a fish give him a snake? Or if he asked for an egg would give him a scorpion? So if you, even though you are bad, know how to give your children gifts that are good, how much more will the Father keep giving the Holy Spirit from heaven to those who keep asking him!” Luke 11:11-13.


Friday, 6 May 2016

Campfire Birthday Cake

It was Tahlia's third birthday recently, and of course, I made a cake. I wasn't feeling very confident in my ability to make a glamorous kid's cake, so when I found a packet of mini marshmallows at the supermarket, I thought they would do to dump on the top for decorations.

With half an hour to spare, when I couldn't find the birthday cake candles in the cupboard, I desperately thought about what to use instead. Luckily for Tahlia, I thought of using tea light candles... and then, toasting marshmallows on them!

She has been talking on and on about camping lately, and taking her 'pak pak' (backpack) into the dining room to be unpacked for the latest camping adventure at the beach. So when I got this idea, I knew it was perfect.

We had an intimate birthday party - just Mummy, Daddy, and Tahlia. It's not the kind of idea suited to a large party, or one where the children outnumber the adults. And even then, you need to be very careful any time a flame is involved. Please be warned - I take no responsibility if things go wrong.

I put the extra marshmallows in a glass and added skewers to another beside the cake so we wouldn't need to destroy the cake in order to have fun. Putting your lollies and things in small containers such as glasses and individual dessert bowls helps to make a small amount look terrific when throwing a wee function.

Toasting the marshmallows also provided some great entertainment for us. Sometimes it is a little hard to create enough atmosphere, especially when there are not many people there, and they are people you see all the time. We had so much fun that we didn't want to cut the cake!!

This cake was so easy to decorate and provided so much fun, I hope it can be tolerated again in a few years time!