The other day I met my friend's son for the first time. I wanted to bring a little something for him, so I looked around at what I had on hand. . .
. . . and decided to put together a quick "pirate pack". . .
. . . complete with an eye patch, sash, head scarf. . .
. . . and map making supplies. . .
. . . all wrapped up. . .
. . . in a little cardboard mailing tube that doubles as a sighting scope when its contents are removed.
In reality, it wasn't more than a few scraps of fabric (the "scarf" and "sash" were literally torn pieces of cloth) and a bit of copy paper wrapped up in string. The present relied completely on the imagination of the child that it was given to, with small prompts by way of little tags. Beyond that there were no instructions or How Tos, just a suggestion and some basic materials. It's my favorite kind of present to give. An open ended one where the recipient can really make it their own. This particular little sweetheart wanted to make runways for his toy plane on the paper the evening I gave it to him. Then (his mama later told me) he initiated a treasure hunt and an adventure the next day involving the whole family - three generations of imaginations - and a beautiful sunny morning.
Oh how I love the combination of simple materials mixed with the creative, inspiring, and magical imaginations of children. It's potent stuff people, filled with more wonder and beauty I can possibly describe. . .
Adventure in a Bottle
- Fabric scraps in different colors/patterns
- Cotton cord, shoe lace or ribbon (for the eye patch tie)
- Small piece of felt (optional but recommended)
- Needle and thread
- Copy paper
- Brown butcher paper or brown paper grocery bags
- 12-13" Cardboard Mailing Tube (if you don't have one, you could also just wrap everything up in brown paper)
To make the eye patch, trace one side of a pair of sunglasses and cut out the shape in a bit of felt. Then cut the same shape in patterned fabric for the front of the patch. If you would like to keep things very quick and easy, you can just use the felt, but I liked the way the fabric patterns worked together as well as the added durability.
Cut your cord/shoe lace/ribbon to 24" and place the center of it in between the felt and fabric pieces. Using a blanket stitch sew around the edges. For the areas where the ribbon comes through, switch to a standard in and out stitch, or sew the top edge with a blanket stitch and then the back separately before moving around the rest of the piece. Tie the cut ends of your cord/shoe lace/ribbon in a knot to keep them from fraying.
To make the head scarf, rip a piece of fabric that is roughly 3" x 30" and another piece that is 6" x 40" for the sash. These sizes can be adjusted to the size of your little adventurer. Just make sure the fabric fits inside the tube when rolled up in the paper. For this reason I used fabric that was on the thinner side.
Roll up the sash and scarf together and tie with a string and a tag. Do the same for the eye patch.
Cut a piece of brown paper that is large enough to cover the copy paper when rolled up. Place a small stack of paper (10 sheets or so) the eye patch and scarf/sash bundle in middle and roll it all up together. Tie it with a string, pencil and a tag.
Slide everything inside the tube and decorate however you choose.
Give the gift to a little buddy for a day of adventure.
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: 12 Valentine's Day Activities