Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LDS Girls Camp Crafts 2012

So, this year I went to Girls Camp as the "Crafts Lady". It was my 11th year at Girls Camp and my 2nd time as the "Crafts Lady". Honestly, I never know quite what to do as the Crafts Lady. All I know for certain, is I don't want to do the crafts we did when I was girl... no offense to any of the women who were in charge of the crafts I participated in as a young woman. I know they put a ton of time and effort into creating crafts specifically geared toward the theme of camp. But I remember one year when sunflowers were really in and we had a baseball theme for camp... needless to say, it wasn't pretty.

I distinctly remember talking about how awful crafts were one year with my friends, when one confessed that each year, she pulled her 5 gallon bucket down from the attic, dumped out the previous years crafts and packed for camp. Then, once home, she unpacked her 10 gallon bucket, threw her old and new crafts back in, and stuck it back in the attic until next year. I don't want my crafts ending up hidden away in buckets!

So, what to craft? Our theme this year is/was "Arise and Shine Forth", which is the Youth Theme for the year. Our camp director had already been using a camp fire motif on all of the Girls Camp paraphernalia. We could have made candles, but that is a little out of my comfort zone. (I remember one craft as a girl where we took already made tea lights, dipped them in wax, and decorated them with confetti shapes and letters while the wax was still wet.)

After much contemplation, I decided to go with my initial thought which was "tie dye"! No matter how cool your camp shirt design is, most teenage girls aren't going to be hitting the mall in them. They will be worn to gyms, to work in the yard, to perform service activities, to go to sleep, and to create t-shirt quilts. Why not save a little on the cost and just do white shirts with a black logo?

You could do a simple tie-dye recipe using cheap(er) supplies (which will end up with the dye fading with each and every wash), or you can get the good stuff.
The good stuff can be found at www.dickblick.com. It is called, "Procion MX Fiber Reactive Cold Water Dye"; the customer service people are really awesome and will answer all of your questions promptly in regards to their products. They helped me calculate what I would need to dye 100 shirts. They were a little off on a couple of things, so here is what I would order if I were to do it again:

15 lbs of soda ash (three 5lb. bags) @ $8.36 each
twenty-five 2/3oz. jars of Procion MX Cold Dye in a variety of colors @ $3.45 each
twelve 16oz. plastic bottles @ $1.24 each

You also need to purchase: laytex gloves for each crafter (200 at Walgreens for $15), and lots of rubber bands for tying shirts ($10).

Beside these supplies, you need to round up sharpies, ten 5 gallon buckets, a teaspoon measure, a funnel, 100 grocery bags, and an empty gallon jug.

This should put you in the area of $140.00 for just one craft... which was basically my entire budget for crafts. But remember, white t-shirts with only black ink are cheaper than color shirts with multiple screen runs. So, my crafts budget got a little help from the t-shirt budget.

Since, our theme was "Arise and Shine Forth" I only ordered red, orange, and yellow dyes to create a flame effect. The pattern shown above is a "bullseye" pattern, which ended up being the easiest and most successful design for our theme (beside a classic spiral).

Now, my one complaint is that even though we soaked the shirts, the ink barely bled. It was hardcore quality dye. We didn't get in the crevices enough. Some girls shirts were completely covered because they totally went to town with the dye. Other girls who didn't want to get too messy, ended up with shirts more like mine.

However, if you're interested in tie dying, here are the instructions from Dick Blick.

Before the craft rotation started, I had written each girls name with sharpie on the collar of their shirt. I organized them in the groups they were coming to craft it, and soaked them together. Then when that group arrived, I went to their buckets and wrung out each shirt and gave it to the corresponding girl. Then, I went over a few simple tying techniques, and the girls went to town. Once they are done dying, they keep them tied with rubber bands, and tie them into a grocery bag to soak over night.

Now, I made the mistake of using my free time the next day to rinse and wring out each t-shirt. This meant cutting open each bag, cutting off the rubber bands, rinsing and wringing as best I could, all while standing behind huge industrial ovens in the kitchen. Luckily, a couple slacker youth leaders, a.k.a. my sister and her friend, came to my rescue half way through and helped cut open the shirts. I highly recommend NOT doing it by yourself. The job is a back breaker.

I put all of the rinsed out shirts in my 5 gallon buckets and took them to a local laundromat. I was able to deliver them to each ward smelling like lavender, ready to be worn the next day for Bishop's night and the testimony meeting.

Day 2 of crafts was way simpler... for most people. If you didn' t know how to braid, it was a little frustrating. I saw these seed bead bracelets on a fashion crafts site. They are stackable and adorable. Plus, the tutorial is very well done.

I got my waxed linen cord from this seller on etsy. She was super cheap compared to others.
And, it says to use size 8/0 beads, but 6/0 (which you can find at Michaels or JoAnns) works too.
Also, for the latches I just got a couple of bags of shell buttons from JoAnns.
You'll want to bring along some scissors, and safety pins for tension.
I was able to buy enough supplies that each girl was able to make 2 bracelets, and I still had some left over.

Before camp, I measured out all of the linen cord and beads, and placed each set of supplies in a snack bag. Then, I organized everything by color combination and let the girls choose once in the Craft Shack. It was a lot easier than managing the chaos of everyone picking out uber tiny beads from bowls. It would have resulted in a lot of waste.

But, the bracelets were a hit! Even the Leaders loved making them and wearing them. I still wear mine multiple times a week. They're fun!

Day 3 of crafts was not really a craft. I made a quilt before camp and all of the girls signed it for our Stake Young Women President (who had been released recently after 4 years of service) and wrote thank you notes that we assembled accordion style.

If I had been able to do (not to mention, afford) another craft, it would have been glass jar lanterns. They were actually requested by our Program Directors to be used at our testimony meeting. However, the idea didn't come soon enough for all of the girls to bring their own jar, and buying 100 glass jars is expensive!

But if you want to do it you could just have the girls put dot stickers on mason jars, then spray them with a clear frost paint, then remove the stickers, attach wires for a handle with cute ribbon for pizazz, and slip in a battery-operated candle. Or you could even use contact paper to trace out a word or the YW torch logo.

So, for anyone out there on the hunt for Camp Craft ideas, I hope this helps you plan!

P.S. Some pictures are mine, and some are others. If they are yours, and you stumble across my post, I hope you don't mind!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Photos

Yes, I took photography classes while in college. However, my photographic approach has turned completely utilitarian. Photos document moments in our life. So, after nap time on Tuesday, I dragged the kids outside after throwing their Easter outfits on and running combs through their hair. "We are documenting Easter 2012! Smile!"

Heaven help me!
Why is it so difficult to get two children to look at a camera and smile... at the same time?! Sheesh.

This one below is two pictures pasted together.

Thank the heavens for photo editing software.
Easter 2012 has been photographically documented. Check.

P.S. How did I end up with such blondies?!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

We Have a New Member of Our Family...


You have to be careful too. He's rough.

He likes to charge you from out of nowhere.

But, he's pretty cute and worth the risk of bruises. We think we'll keep him.