Since I've been a chronic constant poster and seem to have dropped off the face of the earth, yes I'm still alive. 15 weeks with 6-7 year olds was not enough to bulk up my immune system; two weeks into the summer and I'm not sure what I contracted but I know where it came from. Moral of the story: wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands... which may not have been enough. My class helper is down for the count with something else.
Yesterday we made quick-and-dirty bracelets with gross grain ribbon and iron-on Velcro tabs - I didn't know this beast existed, but it made my life pretty fabulous. 12 pre-cut semi-sticky so they stay kinda put where you put them hook-and-loop tabs in a box, 90 seconds with a hot steamy iron and you're done. Ka-pow. It was something like $3.50-$4 for the box, but since we're only there for a few hours and glue takes forever to dry, being able to press an iron down for a few seconds and then hand the project over to a child was pretty rewarding for me. Also rewarding was watching them play superhero afterwards. Or superhero ballerina. Whichever.
Action shots... my one and only girl for the day, for whose bracelet we made special arrangements to stitch beads on, and another friend, fixing a hinge with a thermometer and a pair of tweezers.
The project originally called for velvet ribbon, whereupon you took rubber stamps and embossed the velvet with the stamp image using the iron - something about laying the ribbon with the velvet fibers facing down on the rubber stamp and holding the iron on it for so many seconds... Right... Because I have a million tiny rubber stamps laying around. When was the last time you saw velvet ribbon or a rubber stamp the size of a nickel or dime? It sounds very cool, in theory! I checked around the Metro area at three different craft stores and could find neither velvet ribbon or rubber stamps. Granted, I didn't check at a specialty place in the Strip for the ribbon, but at that point in the hunt, without the stamps, there was no point in having the ribbon.
Also, when you have a class with a ratio of 4:1 boys to girls, sometimes 13 or 14:1, bracelets sometimes have to get spun as superhero armbands. But they had fun making them anyway. There were stickers involved. Lots of stickers. We had the usual hitches that made this less than ideal - not having a completely accurate head count until the minute we did the project means there's only so much prep I can do ahead of time. In this case it meant just having everything assembled, because I knew if I had made the bracelets ahead of time for them to decorate, there would have been an extra child going without.
When preparing the ribbon, I measured the length of the ribbon needed on one of the children's arms, then cut it about an inch longer. When it was time to iron, I folded about half an inch of the ends of the ribbon under the Velcro square so that the bracelets had a nice finished look. The width of the tabs was the same as the ribbon, so folding over the end and tucking it under the tab when ironing took care of any fraying ribbon. I also tried to put the loopy part of the Velcro [the softer bit, not the hook part] on the part of the bracelet that would fold over and lay facing down on their skin, because the hooks would be very irritating, especially on baby skin [it would bother me]. How do you figure this out? if you have the bracelet facing you with the decorated part facing up, the hooked, scratchy tab would be the one you put on the top with the decorations. The softer loopy tab would go on the underside - you wouldn't be looking at it.