05 December 2007

Softies: A craft book for the (relatively) non-crafty

Ok, so this book called to me from the front table at Powell's City of Books. I happen to have a little thing for items made of felt. I don't sew, I don't craft (really), but something about the bold shapes and colors, and precise stitches, and yes, the soft squeezability of little hand-sewn creatures appeals to me. So when I saw Softies: Simple Instructions for 25 Plush Pals beckoning to me from the table, I pretty much grabbed it and headed to the checkout.

Inside, you'll find more than felt. Projects range from easy to challenging, but it's all so clearly laid-out it feels doable. You'll have to do a few basic stitches, there's some machine sewing in there, along with needle felting and one adorable crochet project, but boy are the results gorgeous. Plenty of gift and ornament ideas, although this book is in no way Christmas-y. One of my favorites: The Lonely Dollop. Ask yourself why it might be lonely.

The folks at Chronicle were kind enough to send me a giveaway copy, and I'm thrilled to pass it along to a lucky Parenthacker! To enter, answer the following question in the comments:

What's your favorite source (website or book) for simple kids' crafts?

I'll choose a winner tomorrow at 5pm. Good luck!


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I love Kiddley I want them to come back!

Those are cute!! I like this website for crafts to do with my kids. http://www.allfreecrafts.com/kids/index.shtml

my favorite site for holiday crafts is family fun . . . lots of simple but fun stuff!

I really like Free Stuff for Kids at http://freestuff4kids.net

I've found a few things on there that my kids love to do.

This sounds up my daughter's alley. Christmas break fun!

We use FamilyFun.com


http://scrumdillydo.blogspot.com is great and I second kiddley.

Enchanted Learning is simply awesome. I always have the supplies needed to make something on there.

the muppets big book of crafts!!
amazing range of crafts in many materials and skill levels, plus small glimpses into the Henson Workshop

I love http://angrychicken.typepad.com/ for ideas and inspiration -- but while some of the ideas are "simple" there are many other projects she does that I would classify as "not simple". Her book Bend the Rules Sewing is also amazing.

We use family fun

another fan of familyfun.com here. i also like the busy toddler book by trish kuffner. :)

Parent Hacks!
Also Kiddley, Wee Wonderfuls, Martha Stewart, etc. Anything with a minimal mess and maximum cute.

Is it too pandering-y to say I get a lot of my ideas here? Or at least links to other sites that have great ideas. I've also pulled a lot from my own childhood, which is fun for me, too.

My favorite source is Family Fun magazine, hands down.

Ooooh, softies! Just like other posters, my picks are Kiddley (oh how I miss them!), Family Fun (magazine and website), and Trish Kuffner's series of books.

I love Kids Craft Weekly. http://www.kidscraftweekly.com/
There are lots of fun ideas that even the littlest crafters can do.

Family Fun, for sure. Plus MarthaStewart.com, if the "craft" is simple enough. They have some totally cool Halloween crafts at her site.

I found makingfriends.com through the girl scouts and I think their printable paper dolls are simple, but wonderful. They also organize their craft ideas by material, potential gift receiver, theme, or season, so it's easy to find something that will work for you.

I love DIY Kids by Ellen and Julia Lupton.

I love The Toddler's Busy Book by Trish Kuffner for crafts and activities for my 3-year-old and 1-year-old.

I use family fun the most, if they don't have what I'm looking for then I just do a google search & usually pull up something good in the first couple hits.

I have two children that have moved beyond the basic craft and are now able to work the sewing machine. I love the ideas and links to ideas from http://www.sewmamasew.com/blog2/

The Family Fun website has some great kids crafts. Also, there is a blog - me and my girl that has some neat ideas to do with your girl. Too bad I have boys.

I loved Kiddley and I miss them! But I also like http://www.dltk-kids.com/. I can almost always find coloring pages to fulfill my 4-year old's requests and other simple seasonal crafts/projects.

This may be too lame, but Michaels, JoAnns, and Hobby Lobby have tons of ideas that can be super easy, super fun, and super cheap.

OMG I really wanted that book and my library system doesn't have it! Miss Baby is too young to make stuff but I make stuff for her. Either I make it up or look at pictures online and try to figure out how things are made.

I adore everything by Klutz Press. Their books are presented in ways that are useful but not patronizing.

They're great for grownups, too--their teaching style taught me to crochet when other books couldn't.

I LOVE kids craft weekly!!

Kid's Craft Weekly is AWESOME! I love getting their weekly emails, and loved the gift giving guide sent out a few weeks ago.

Well I *heart* Kids Craft Weekly too but I am totally biased :)

I love www.craftster.org. You can search for just about anything there. I always want to make something after I check the site.
I hope you like it as much as I do!
Marta :)

have to admit I like to check out martha stewart's web site and modify as needed for budget and my child's age.

i love the family fun magazine, it has easy great ideas!

Kids Crafty Weekly: simple, sweet, thrifty. I love that nearly all the crafts are things for kids to *play* with, not just send to grandma or hang on the wall. Love it.

http://www.kidscraftweekly.com/ has some great, simple projects.

And for a reminder that it's about the process, not the product, here is a post I read recently about the pitfalls of crafting with young children:

I miss Kiddley! And Martha Stewart Kids!

Family Fun website is always full of great crafts and kid-friendly recipes!

Hello, Isn't it amazing how the cover of a book can call out to us?!
The book sounds wonderful. "Klutz" is a favorite company whose books I buy for crafts. Please enter me in your contest. Thanks, Cindi

Freestuff4kids.net is one that I like. This blog is also great for fun craft ideas!

Family Fun magazine or website. Martha Stewart also has some good ones.

Family Fun and other parenting magazines, though I haven't really started crafting for my baby yet... I'm hoping to get started soon! I used to be a good little crafter. :)

Craftster.org has people displaying all kinds of projects. Some are great with kids (though the site isn't designed for that).

I also like spatulatta.com for food & food crafts (they have a great set of holiday gifts right now). Their series of video tutorials by kids are SO GOOD!

Family Fun is our fave source for craft ideas. The book sounds great!

I like www.kidscraftweekly.com and subscribe to their email for ideas.

We like " The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions". Not really a craft book, exactly, but lots of fun!

I love Kids Craft Weekly! Their handmade holiday card swap is GREAT!

mothering.com's craft forum

I don't have any one favorite site! I used to love Kiddley...I use Family Fun a lot...I subscribe to Kids Craft Weekly....and I read lots of crafty blogs for ideas!

I LOVE Family Fun!

I like to use Family Fun or Disney's family site. Martha is always a good go to. Actually, Michaels' has some craft tutorials as well. I love the Softies book and WANT it!

I get a weekly email from http://www.kidscraftweekly.com and just LOVE it! Those felt projects look adorable! :)

Oh that is so cool! I really like Family Fun magazine.

Looks like I'm not alone! I really like familyfun.com. They have tons of cool craft ideas.

For us it is definately Familyfun.com

I need all the help I can get!!

I am a big fan of familyfun.com and Martha Stewart's Good Things for Kids.

I love Craftbits.com. THanks.

When I taught preschool, I used http://www.theideabox.com/ quite frequently. I also enjoyed the simple crafts in the Toddlersaurus Theme book (available at the library).

My daughter and I would have so much fun with this book.

We love Family Fun magazine for craft and ideas of that sort.


i love family fun too. this book looks awesome, hope i win!

amzingmoms.com They have craft projects, kits, tips, and cover pre-school up to 6th grade, as well as sunday school and scouts!

That book looks incredible.
Martha Stewart is a good source for kid crafts.

I also love mothering.com crafts discussion forum. But I also find inspiration from a Yahoo group called Waldorf_craft. Those momma's are so talented. Wondertime magazine is always great too. :)

I usually head to www.familyfun.com.

There are lots of places to go online though.

Kids craft weekly.

Easy crafts, even for preschoolers. And I like the weekly themes (though for me, they tend to last for weeks. or months)

Kids Craft Weekly!

Add another log on the fire for Kiddley! We are also big fans of the Martha Stewart Good Things for Kids.

I like kids craft weekly

I really enjoy the ideas and tutorials at www.notmartha.org

I can't pick just one. So I am just going to go with Google.

Web is my favorite, although I always used to use Family Fun Magazine. My grandma ran a daycare for over 40 so she was always a great resource too.

My favorite is Kids Craft Weekly!!

I love the craft books in the Kids Can! series, especially the Little Hands Art Book (Crafts for 2-6 year olds) and Hand Print Animal Art.

I love Kids Craft Weekly at http://www.kidscraftweekly.com

I'm not very crafty and can't sew and have few other crafty skills, but my daughter can always do the projects in KCW.

Soulemama.com is the best and most inspirational website for parenting and living in a natural and meaningful way. The art she enables her kids to create is fantastic and really helsp me to allow the creativity in my own children. Amanda (soulemama) has also just published a book!

Family Fun. com

Oh, I love it! And I've just come into a nice bunch of felt... I keep thinking I should do more crafty stuff with my girl, and this might be a good start, where she can decorate them.

i go to kidscraft.com, kaboose.com, kiddley.com for great crafts ideas

As a hopeful homeschooler, I spend a lot of time at http://www.kidzone.ws and http://www.first-school.ws , both of which have really good craft sections. Now, all I have to do is find the *time* to do all these crafts. :)

We use enchantedlearning.com as well!

I really like the crafts section at Star Wars Kids: http://www.starwars.com/kids/activity/crafts/

Besides neat things like instructions for building a Dagobah terrarium, they have great printables, like an ewok mask that kids can decorate or an R2D2 mailbox to print and assemble. There are even holiday projects like these great collage cards: http://www.starwars.com/kids/activity/crafts/f20061206/index.html

Lots of fun!

You'll find a variety! and they are categorized by alphabet and materials you'd use. Easy! The hardest part is just deciding what craft you want to make...

i love the "klutz" series

I love Parents.com for easy/creative kids crafts.

Marthastewart.com all the way!

I use familyfun.com. It has what seems like unlimited amounts of ideas.

Many of the places already mentioned, plus Blair's blog Wisecraft has been great for inspiration and links to various fun places and books. I also find Amazon great with the reader reviews.

I love Kids' Craft Weekly! I am NOT crafty, yet always inspired by the easy-to-do-with-what's-lying-around-the-house crafts she comes up with. We're having a puppet-making birthday party this weekend with all her ideas- can't wait!

We use familyeducation.com
Even my hubs enjoys finding crafts to keep the boys entertained.

I'm loving Parent Hacks and getting so many ideas! Thanks!!!

I loved Kiddley and still browse it looking for this I might have missed. FamilyFun, Better Homes and Gardens website has some fun ideas too.

I actually use the Oriental Trading Company mailers for ideas for crafts. I don't buy their kits, but I use their ideas and buy my own supplies cheaper elsewhere.

I vote for Family Fun!

I am personally a fan of Craftster.org. There are so many creative people out there and it only takes a few minutes to modify any craft project to make it kid-friendly.

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