Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Perler Beads?

Guest Blog from Erica's Craft & Sewing Center:

Have you ever heard of Perler Beads? I played with them as a child and honestly, I had forgotten all about them until the kits arrived in the store. If you haven’t heard of them, they are small beads made of food-safe plastic that you place on a plastic peg board. After placing the beads into the desired design or shape, you fuse them together by heating the beads with an iron.

Looking for a distraction from their TV, computer and video games, I was more than delighted to introduce these tiny little marvels to my grandsons: Eli, Caleb and Ben. We have been playing with them for over a year now and have went through three buckets full plus some!

Last week I picked up the Robots and Rockets Kit (#43087) before heading over to their house to babysit. This kit was a little different that the previous kits we have used. The plastic pegboard was clear and came with actual size pattern sheet with 11 designs. This was great! Instead of looking at the picture and trying to duplicate the shape/design on an opaque pegboard, you just slide the pattern underneath the pegboard and place the Perler Beads accordingly!

Ben decided to use the pattern just to outline his rocket and fill in with “rainbow colors”.

Eli and I sat and made the robot to match the pattern colors. These little beads are great for teaching a child hand-eye co-ordination, fine-tune motor skills and color matching.

They also help to develop your child's creativity and concentration levels, as evident with Caleb’s tongue sticking out. (Sadly to say, he probably got that from me!) Caleb likes the shaped peg boards, so he doesn’t feel obligated to match the colors. He can make his doggy (#A11061) just the way he likes.

After all the designs are made, carefully place the supplied pressing sheet atop the beads and iron with medium heat for about 10-12 seconds, moving the iron in a slow circular motion. Let cool and peel off the paper. Lift your design from the peg board and flip the design over onto your ironing surface. Cover it with the ironing paper and iron the other side to fuse it evenly. The peg board and pressing sheet are reusable.

It was a delightful afternoon. Next time, I think I’ll pick up some magnets to glue on the backs or maybe thread some cord or ribbon through for ornaments!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Barrette's and a Pin...Yo-Yo Style

Guest blog at Erica's Craft & Sewing Center: Spring is here...and though it may not look quite like Spring in northern Indiana, these quick-to- make pins and barrettes will brighten things up.

Clover Yo-Yo Makers make it easy to make nicely shaped yo-yos! Erica's carries a variety of shapes and sizes. Add some of our awesome Spring buttons, maybe a little ribbon, and tack to one of our Binding Clips (56424) and you have an adorable Spring time barrette. (Yes, I said binding clips...30 to a pkg!)

I used the Small (25079) and Large (25080) Yo Yo makers plus some fabric from Erica's scrap bin to whip up 3 barrettes plus a Spring Pin for my sweater in about an hour. The yo-yo's package directions are well written and easy to follow.

I used a heavy duty thread and pulled from both directions when gathering the yo-yo. However, you need to pay attention and make sure that you don't wrap your thread (middle picture, above) around the outside of the yo-yo maker! (Sometimes I think I'm allowed to do things around here just because I will mess things up and be able to tell everyone else what NOT to do! It saves everyone else time.) After you get the yo-yo nice and snug, just tie off and clip the ends. Voila!

The hardest thing I had to do was to decide which buttons to add! I finally settled on the Sun Seekers (49169), because there were 2 sizes of buttons in the package. I also liked that these buttons had a shank, which allowed the buttons to sit atop the yo-yo. The Spring Daisies (41336), Butterfly Beauty (41340) Easter Carrot Crop (26527) or any other of our other Spring buttons would have been pretty. I really wanted to open all the buttons and make barettes and pins all day!

After making the yo-yo and gathering the buttons and clips, the assembly of these little pretties went quickly.

You will need to decide whether you want to attach the ribbon to the front (blue barrette) or the back (yellow ribbon) and tack it on. Sew your button to the front of the yo-yo and tack your barette (quilt binding clip) to its back. I found (actually Cathy M. found) a pin back laying around the store and I decided to make a pin too! You could also attach these to headbands and pony tail holders. Or use a little glue and add a special touch to a little girl's Easter shoes!

I made an adult-size barrette too!

In this order:

1. Sew the small button to the small yo-yo.

2. Overlap and attach the small yo-yo to the large yo-yo.

3. Sew the larger button to the large yo-yo.

4. Loop ribbon to the desired size and tack.

5. Tack ribbon to large yo-yo.

6. Tack to quilt binding clip! Done!

Here's the finished piece, modeled by Cindy (shipping mgr.).

Erica's carries many varieties of yo-yo makers. There are round ones of all sizes, butterflies, flowers, shamrocks, hearts and ovals. Pair those with all the beautiful buttons and I may never get back to work the possibilities are endless!

It think I'll wear my pretty little pin out to dinner tonight! Happy Spring!

Guest Blogger: Cheryl Nelson

Be sure to become a Erica's Facebook Fan! You'll see great projects from customer's and Erica's employees, new items just into the store and be eligible for great giveaways! (To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the underlined words, hold down the "Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.) You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.