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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Make It: A Book Review and A Trashy Craft (A Flashback Gather Review)

A flashback Gather review from April 2009.

I was choosen to receive and review the book "Make It" by Jane Bull on Gather.

It's a book that will help your child (or you!) turn your trash into treasure. This book isn't just for kids- adults can use the ideas in this book to make their own creations as well. Even a beginner can use the ideas in this book, as there are very clear step-by-step instructions and pictures that leave no questions unanswered! Often when I buy a craft book the author assumes that the reader already knows everything there is to know about the craft (jewelry, sewing- all books that are totally useless to me because the instructions were not clear at all) and skips the beginning steps. But not Mrs. Jane Bull! Even young readers will be able to do some of the crafts in this book on their own. For others they will need adult supervision or help. There are projects to make using a variety of items in your home- old toys, bottle lids, cans, fabric, paper and so much more. You can make something from anything!
This book, like others in the series (see link above for other books by the publisher), is "made with care". The paper to make this book is FSC certified, which means the paper comes from responsibly managed forests. They use better inks, skip the dust jacket and their printers generate 100% of their own electricity.
The day I received this book in the mail Zachary got to it first. He always gets excited about mail, especially packages so he made me open it right away. I didn't get more than a glance at the cover before he took it from me and started reading. He was SO excited! He was saying, "Mommy, we could make this- I could make this! This is so cool!" to just about everything in the book. Instead of hijacking it back, I sat down to see what was so cool. Sure enough, he really could make a lot of the things in this book on his own.

When we came to the sewing projects I almost kept going because I don't know how to sew. But this book even offers a basic sewing lesson! How neat is that?! Zachary was thrilled and said that we could learn to sew together. I told him that I thought that was a great idea. I even bought a mini sewing kit recently so that I could attempt to fix simple things like missing buttons, so we are set to give it a try soon!

Yesterday we decided to go through the book again to pick a few crafts to make. After looking through the book he decided to use some ideas in it to create his own thing. He wanted to make a "robot remote". At first it started as just a regular remote but as he made it his ideas were still forming. I offered to find a few things in the house for him to use as buttons but he said he just wanted to trace shapes. We grabbed all of the tools we needed- scissors, tape, a pen, a plastic heart with a couple shapes for tracing (what the heck is that thing called anyway?) and a piece of cardboard that we were planning to toss in the recycling bin. Everything was something we already had in the house, for regular use or to be thrown away (just the cardboard was trash for this particular project).
He asked me to cut the cardboard then went to work.

He made "buttons" to start, stop, fall in love (?!), shoot, fly, jump, punch and one to use as a microphone. Start and stop were round, fall in love was a heart, shoot was a triangle, punch was a diamond, jump was 3 or 4 pentagons that he spaced slightly apart so that they appeared to be "jumping" (this was my favorite button- so creative!) and the microphone button was a large circle with lines inside going horizontally and vertically. After he was done it looked pretty cool but it didn't look complete. We needed an antenna and a way for him to carry it. We found a stick from a bush in our front yard (one that had fallen off) and he taped it to the back.

Then I gave him a clothespin so that he could secure it to his pants. And he is finished!

He started using his remote with the kids and me as subjects. Of course he had to tell us what he was pushing but it was still fun. He said that when he pushed the first button it was activating us as robots. Then whatever he pushed we had to do. I might have looked silly jumping up and down, pretending to shoot, punch and fly but I was having fun too! Thank goodness he didn't make me sing! Jonas joined in the fun as well, and was punching and shooting along with me. I did try to get video of that but he found the cat as soon as I started to film. Amara wouldn't play and just kept making robots with her chalk on the sidewalk.

Who knew a book could create so much family fun?! I recommend this book to any newbie of the craft world. You could also find plenty of similar crafts online but I'm thrilled that I have the book for the steps and photos. This book will be coming along with us on trips and visits with family and friends so we can share the crafts we've made and potential ones for the future! I'm looking forward to making many more and we have already started our second project from the book.

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