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CraftSanity On TV: Fun spring break ideas for the kids and a friendship bracelet maker giveaway

Happy spring break! Snow is in the forecast for Michigan, so chances are good that my family won’t be frolicking on the West Michigan sun during Spring Break 2011. But no worries, I’m a crafty mama with a plan.

This past Sunday the weekly column I write for The Grand Rapids Press offered spring break suggestions to keep the kids entertained. You can read it in full here. The abridged version of my plan to combat spring break boredom is below:

* Buy your kids a fresh box of crayons and a new spiral notebook or coloring book. My kids LOVE getting fresh drawing supplies and the bonus for me is that I get to see what they do to fill up the pages. Art made by children is my favorite.

* Give your kids a pack of pipe cleaners and a bag of pony beads. At 5 and 6, my kids enjoy making bracelets and freeform pipe cleaner and bead sculptures.

* Let the kids go on a supervised photo adventure. My daughters LOVE it when they get to use my digital point and shoot camera. Whether you go for a walk around the block or they shoot dozens of photos of the family cat, kids really enjoy it when they’re empowered to document their world.

These photos are usually pretty entertaining to review. After the shoot load them into the computer and let your child print out a few to make a book or photo collage for the fridge.

* Teach your kids to embroider by pinning a photo copy or tracing of their favorite comic book character, superhero or cartoon character to a piece of fabric stretched across an embroidery hoop. By following the lines on the paper with a simple backstitch, they will be able to create a fun embroidery to hang in their room. This is a good project for tweens, but younger children an do it with a little help.

Kids can us this same method to embroider one of their own drawing too. I absolutely love embroidering my daughters’ drawings and highly recommend collaborative projects of this sort. My daughters have been filling up their new notebooks will designs for me to stitch which means I’m going to have a lot of fun on spring break, too. (Abby drew the chick with bunny ears at the top of this post after watching the trailer for the new movie “Hop.”)

* Another spring break idea is to shop for seeds and make some garden plans. We like to start our seeds using the winter sowing method. We plant seeds in milk jugs and leave them outside on the deck. The plastic acts as a green house and protects the plants from the elements. Please see my column for detailed instructions on transforming the milk jugs into mini green houses.

* In my column I recommended digging out the embroidery floss and clipboard and looking up a free pattern for your tween to make some friendship bracelets. After the column was published I learned about this product…

A representative of the Michigan-based company that produces the My Friendship Bracelet Maker sent me a sample of their bracelet maker and I’m very impressed with it. Where was this machine when I was a tween? I would have loved. it.

While it’s not necessary to use a bracelet maker to knot a bracelet, it does make the process a lot easier for beginners. (It’s more fun for veteran bracelet makers, too.) The bracelet maker retails for $19.99 and can be purchased at select Meijer, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby stores as well as other chains stores. Grand Rapids area readers may be able to find one at Flowerland, 765 28th St. SW, in Wyoming, too. But call ahead, so you don’t waste a trip. See a complete list of national and online retailers here.

I’m going to teach my daughters how to use it over break and report back here on how that goes. I like the fact that it keeps the bracelet under tension and the thread nice and neat while you’re working. I also appreciate the thread storage compartment down below. And I LOVE the fact that is was invented in Michigan by retired automotive executive, David Crorey, after his granddaughters introduced him to friendship bracelet making while he was babysitting.

I’m so impressed by this bracelet maker that I asked to give one away. To enter to win a bracelet maker leave a friendship bracelet memory or other comment below by 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, 2011. A winner will be selected at random. Check back here for a winner announcement next week. Good luck everyone!

Comments

Comment from Bonney
Time: April 1, 2011, 9:30 am

I would love to win this. It will be a lot of fun to connect with my granddaughters. Maybe they’ll even think I’m cool!

Comment from Rachel
Time: April 1, 2011, 9:32 am

i would really enjoy making these bracelets with my daughter ~ thanks for the opportunity :)

Comment from Cheri
Time: April 1, 2011, 9:33 am

My daughter would just love one of these…she loves all kinds of crafts, art and has even started some sewing projects now. This looks like it would make the process easier and she also enjoyed your segment on TV this morning!

Comment from Amy Witt
Time: April 1, 2011, 9:40 am

My daughter just saw the segment on Take 5 and begged me to go to your site to see it! She made tons of friendship bracelets (which I still have many of) when she was young! She is now 20 and would love to have this to make some now that she is older! She is the only “crafty” one in our family but maybe with this product she could teach her younger sister how to make a bracelet : )

Comment from Juanita D.
Time: April 1, 2011, 9:49 am

My generation is so deprived! ;) There wasn’t any such thing as a friendship bracelet when I was a kid. These are so neat! There was the fad of the unimaginative friendship rings that were bought, not made. We did, however, make ‘love chains’ by weaving together a bazillion gum wrappers. LOL We girls were suppose to make one as long as your love interest was tall; in my case he was 5’9″. Then you were supposed to give it to him and if he burned it, it meant he loved you!!! After all that work… Most of the boys were clueless about all this anyway and didn’t know about the burning part. They just kept them. My granddaughters and I could have fun making friendship bracelets!

Comment from Beth
Time: April 1, 2011, 9:53 am

Oh i have a niece that this would be PERFECT for…I hope I win it (if not, I’ll be checking out Meijer ASAP)

Comment from deb mersman
Time: April 1, 2011, 9:58 am

Would love to win one of those! The girls would have fun with it I know, but really I want it too. After they go to bed, I can imagine crafting my way back to my childhood. :)

Comment from Kelli
Time: April 1, 2011, 9:59 am

Wow! What a cool tool. I’m getting ready for spring break by purchasing you magazine, and a few other .PDF magazines full of fun activities. We’re also going to plant some fast growing kitty grass for Easter this year.

Comment from Ramona
Time: April 1, 2011, 10:14 am

I would like this for my daughter. She get in the car to go to school or come home from school and get the scotch tape and her color string and work on craft. She away make it for her friend and family. This would be a great way to carry her stuff .

Comment from Nina
Time: April 1, 2011, 11:14 am

What a nice idea to give one of these away. We didn’t make bracelets in my day; we made cootie-catchers:-)

But I know 2 little girls who would go bananas for this. They’ve tried on their own and it is a bit hit or miss!

Thanks, Jennifer – for all the info you connect us to.

Comment from Kristy Medina
Time: April 1, 2011, 12:17 pm

I use to make friendship bracelets when I stayed with my grandma during summer vacation. I’ve started making them again this week after discovering a technique I’ve never seen before. I’m having so much fun making them.

Comment from DianeP
Time: April 1, 2011, 12:47 pm

Great ideas to keep the little ones, and some big ones, busy during school break.

Your daughters are so well behaved on tv – and they both are lovely. You must be very proud :-)

Comment from Jan Stave
Time: April 1, 2011, 1:19 pm

My best memories are crafting with my Grandma! I now have 5 grandbabies and we spend hours crafting together “making memories”. It is so important to learn to create things as you will never be bored or lonely. I am blessed to be able to share these times with them and would love to be able to use a bracelet maker with them! Happy crafting, Happy Spring! :)

Comment from Martha Winger
Time: April 1, 2011, 1:22 pm

My daughter is making these all the time! She even brought the supplies and made them on our cruise while sitting by the pool! Thanks for sharing your Spring Break crafting ideas!

Comment from Elizabeth Freville
Time: April 1, 2011, 3:17 pm

Please enter me! I would love to win this so that I can teach my grandchildren how to make friendship bracelets to give away to their friends at school! Heck, I may even give some away in my giveaway contests that I host every now and then too!!! ;) Thanks so much! ♥Dig♥

Comment from menolly
Time: April 1, 2011, 3:36 pm

I have never made friendship bracelets before. I would love to give one of these to my step-daughter for her upcoming birthday. Then she could teach me how!

Comment from Pearlie
Time: April 1, 2011, 5:41 pm

My niece would absolutely LOVE this! She is always trying to make things for people, mostly bookmarks and drawings. She’s in second grade and loves crafty things so I’m certain she would find MANY ‘friends’ between school and church to give these to! (Would make a great birthday/Christmas present too!)

Comment from Amy Sue
Time: April 1, 2011, 7:04 pm

Friendship bracelets bring me back to Girl Scouts and summer camp. Love your website!! THANK YOU!!!!

Comment from Shannon Brennan
Time: April 1, 2011, 7:58 pm

Very cool! I would have loved one of those when I was in middle/high school! Reminds me of the countless hours I spent picking out embroidery floss at Ben Franklin’s and working on friendship bracelets with my girlfriends.

Comment from miranda
Time: April 1, 2011, 10:21 pm

Wow, a clipboard for holding the bracelets. I always used a safety pin and then pinned it to my knee or the couch. And now there is a jog for it. So cool. We still have tons of floss from way back when. I always liked the ones where you just did the same knot over and over so it would twist around. Thanks for reminding me of those good times. I also shopped at Ben Franklin. All the ladies that worked there were always crabby, anyone else have that? Thanks for the great giveaway!!

Comment from anne | flax & twine
Time: April 1, 2011, 11:00 pm

That looks amazing – I LOVED making those bracelets when I was young. I made a whole pile of them, gave them to friends and even tried to sell them! I would love to teach my daughter the fine art of friendship bracelets. I’m happy to know it works. Do you remember making friendship pins with safety pins and seed beads – I loved those too. My Great Grandmother still wears one of those pins I made in 2nd grade on her necklace every day. Thanks so much for posting!

Comment from Penny
Time: April 2, 2011, 10:48 am

Supercool! My daughter (13) loves making friendship bracelets. This could help her be even more productive!

Comment from kritty
Time: April 2, 2011, 7:11 pm

I can do it the old fashioned way, but this sure would be a cool upgrade. ;)

Comment from chppie
Time: April 2, 2011, 7:42 pm

My daughter makes friendship bracelets but when I was a kid I never really got into it. We made other things for each other and maybe beaded a bracelet but I like that these are nonbreakable and I don’t have to worry about stepping on spilled beads.

thanks for blogging spring break ideas. Ours is in a couple of weeks so I have time to plan.

Comment from dana
Time: April 2, 2011, 10:06 pm

very, very cool. i hope i can find one for my bf’s daughter.

Comment from Ananda Glick
Time: April 3, 2011, 10:23 am

I remember tying several strings around my big toe to make friendship bracelets… or using scotch tape! I remember getting the strangest looks from adults as they walked by me in this twisted contorted position all wrapped up with string in my mouth and strings on my toes…. I used to spend hours making bracelets =) My legs would get stiff and fall asleep…. oh the good old days

This is such an innovative design. I just Love it. Thank you for reviewing it and for the opportunity to win.

Comment from Deb
Time: April 3, 2011, 2:26 pm

Many happy hours were spent on these at the park = }

This looks like an amazing product — love the color palette!!

Thanks for entering me for a chance to win!

Comment from Amy
Time: April 3, 2011, 3:53 pm

This machine just makes me smile. The colors are great! Friendship bracelets are so very summer, aren’t they? I remember using a saftey pin and pinning them to the couch for tension. Just the thought I need to keep persevering through another cold week! :D

Comment from Deb
Time: April 3, 2011, 7:01 pm

Granddaughter Payton is urging to me to enter so we can make some bracelets! Been teaching her to crochet them, too. Thanks@

Comment from Michelle
Time: April 3, 2011, 10:35 pm

This is fantastic! My 6 year old is desperate to make bfraid and can’t quite coordinate her fingers – it’s perfect. wonder if we have them in Australia?

Pingback from CraftSanity On TV: Fun spring break ideas for the kids – Friendship Bracelet Blog by MYFBM
Time: April 3, 2011, 10:54 pm

[...] makers, too.) ” Check out Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood’s website, CraftSanity.com to read the rest of her review of MyFBM and check out a wealth of other crafting ideas! Follow MYFBM on Twitter Filed Under: MyFBM In The [...]

Comment from Glenys
Time: April 4, 2011, 5:18 am

I made a collection of friendship bracelets myself!

Comment from Heather
Time: April 4, 2011, 9:29 am

This looks like a great tool for making friendship bracelets! When I was growing up we made simple bracelets using macrame knots and beads. This device enables you to manage so many other strands at once.

Comment from Julie
Time: April 4, 2011, 11:03 am

That looks so fun! I remember knotting the threads around a safety pin and pinning it to my jeans — and having it come undone and poke me! I think friendship bracelets are one of those projects that I started a lot more often than I finished. But the ones I wore were always special.

Comment from Arlene
Time: April 4, 2011, 12:13 pm

Would love to share the bracelet maker with my nieces & nephews!

Comment from T. Crockett
Time: April 4, 2011, 9:36 pm

I remember before we were old enough to make friendship bracelets, we used to make friendship pins. They were safety pins with tiny seed beads on them (of course in your friend’s favorite colors). We put them on our shoe laces and backpacks.

Comment from Charlene
Time: April 4, 2011, 10:01 pm

I remember making these with a friend of mine and we always got frustrated because they would twist and whatever. What a wonderful invention. I’d love to win one to share with my niece’s and nephews.

Comment from Oiyi
Time: April 5, 2011, 9:46 pm

What a neat machine! I can remember fondly making those bracelets when I was young. Wish I had this machine then! This would be great to teach my daughter how to make them.

Comment from Juliann aka The Sick Chick
Time: April 5, 2011, 10:10 pm

Wow, that looks great! I’ve just bought a friendship bracelet kit for my niece’s 10th birthday, but this would make life a lot easier. I still use the clipboard and bobby-pins-as-bobbins method myself :)

Comment from Sharon
Time: April 5, 2011, 10:38 pm

my niece would love this … it would make thing so much easier for her, as she has limited use in one hand

Comment from Wacky Lisa
Time: April 6, 2011, 4:46 pm

I made a few bracelets as a preteen or teen. Usually using the clipboard method or sometimes just taping the end to something. A few times i’d safety pin the knot to a pillow or my pant leg.
I never learned any of the really neat patterns but I eventually got good at basic diagonal stripes and at undoing mistakes since I’m a bit of a perfectionist.

Comment from CuteCreations
Time: April 6, 2011, 4:54 pm

Oh this is too cute. I remember making friendship bracelets for all my friends when I was little. The joy of picking out the right colors and making the right pattern. I would love to get this and make some with my kids.

Comment from dennise
Time: April 6, 2011, 7:50 pm

My daughter and I would love to have one of these. I have always been very crafty and my daughter is following in my footsteps. she is just learning how to make friendship bracelets and this product would make it easier for her to do. she is the craftiest four year old i know. thanks for the oppurtinity to get one.

Comment from Nina
Time: April 6, 2011, 10:43 pm

Golly, I hope I win this for dd!

Pingback from CraftSanity – A blog and podcast for those who love everything handmade » Daffodils, Giveaway Winners and a Whole Lot of Yarn
Time: April 9, 2011, 12:35 am

[...] giveaways. Toni won the drawing for a bunny from Yellow Horse Studio and Elizabeth won the My Friendship Bracelet Maker giveaway. Both winners have  been notified. Prizes will be mailed as soon as we get mailing addresses. [...]

Pingback from CraftSanity – A blog and podcast for those who love everything handmade » Tying Knots: ‘My Friendship Bracelet Maker’ is a winner
Time: July 16, 2011, 10:43 am

[...] to most mass produced plastic products, this one has won me over. Read more about that product here. It allows for speedy knotting and it’s great for kids and crafty moms, too. [...]

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