DIY Yarn Octopus

Hello everyone!

It’s been a loooooong time, isn’t it? Well, it’s been quite busy in the past few months – playing Stardew Valley with my husband, trying to get more illustrations done for my upcoming book, etc. But the itch to make some kind of craft was always there. It got more powerful after I saw this picture.

We have been on lockdown mode for more than 2 months now (today is the 24th of May 2020), with another week to go for the current lockdown to end. May be only to be followed by another lockdown. Anyway, there has been some relaxation for stand-alone shops recently and one of the advantages to living close to the shopping area is that hop-skip-jump and I was back home with all supplies, except for a few – not because they weren’t available but because I had forgotten to buy them.

Today’s shopping included some spools of thread, pull-skein for hand embroidery, and yarn and lightweight plastic ballsfor making octopuses – one each for my two daughters and a keyboard with numpad for my husband – all these apart from the reason for going out which was to buy a board game for the younger one because delivery of her game is delayed while the elder one has already made 3 items using the (promptly delivered) snap circuits with my husband. Well, I did buy a chess board for Anjana in this trip!

Alright, let’s get to the yarn octopus! This is the picture that I had followed. Things used:

  • Yarn (we get yarn in a different form and size than that is available at Michael’s or at Jo-Ann’s)
  • Lightweight plastic ball
  • Wiggly eyes
  • Rubberbands
  • Small piece of red coloured paper
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A board to wind the yarn around

I wasn’t sure how much yarn would be needed but I had anyway bought a whole pack – 6 balls of yarn in what I believe to be light salmon color for my younger daughter and an assorted mix of 7 balls for yarn for my elder one – 2 of dark violet, 1 of light violet, 2 of dark blue and 2 of sea blue, because the shop didn’t have 6 balls of purple yarn (her favourite colour). A bit of a hotchpotch, I do admit but these colours did look inviting. The alternative was neon green, which was too bright even for me!

So, remember the keyboard that I had bought for my husband? The carton was kept in a corner to be thrown out as trash. But it did seem to be having the right dimensions for the yarn to be wound around.

Yarn comes in balls likes these. A pack has 6 of them but they can also be bought individually
Started winding then around the long end of the carton

I didn’t know how many balls it would take. Ended up using all 6 for Anjana and all 7 for Santoshi.

I removed the yarn from the carton and added a rubberband to the top for the hair and it looked like this –

Now, insert the ball in this mess and secure it with a rubberband and then use a bit of yarn around the rubberband.

Now, snip the ends at the top and bottom. It gives it a less messy look.

Is it just me or does this look like a voodoo doll?

Now, divide the yarn into 8 (almost) equal portions for the 8 arms. Divide into 2, then each of them into 2 equal portions and then each of those into 2 equal portions. Now, there will be 8 portions – secure each portion with a rubberband.

Top view – do count the arms – there are 8!

Start plaiting each portion, securing each end with a rubberband and add a strip of yarn over the rubberband. Snip the ends of each plait.

We are almost done now. Add wiggly eyes, a small piece of red coloured paper for a mouth and tie a ribbon on the head as a now.

Made a second one using the yarn balls of different shades. This time, I had used a longer board (which is my portable iron board) to ensure that the arms were longer than those of the first octopus.

I had made a mistake of sticking the wiggly eyes a bit far from each other for Anjana’s octopus. So, I tried to put them closer to each other this time but still wasn’t happy. Guess the eyes needed to be bigger for that pretty look as in the inspiration!

Let’s look at costs in Indian Rupees (1 USD is approximately 70-75 Indian Rupees)

  • Yarn – 90 (Woolly) and 105 (hotchpotch)
  • Plastic ball – 10 each
  • Wiggly eyes – 10 for a back of 10 eyes
  • Glue – used hardly a few spots -10
  • Rubberbands – 5
  • Ribbon – used scrap fabrics

So, it is about 110 – 125 Indian Rupees each – less than USD 2 each!

Anjana looked at hers and didn’t share any comment. She looked at Santoshi’s and exclaimed, “Ew! That looks horrible! So many colours!”

She looked at hers again and had to ask, “Why does mine have only one colour?” She gave the name “Woolly” to her Octopus. Couldn’t say if Santoshi liked hers either. Not sure if she had named it. But I had a lot of fun in making them!

What do you think about these? Do you agree with Anjana that they are gross-looking? Comment away! Thanks for reading!!

Make a volcano using clay


This is quite a short post because the making of a volcano didn’t take much time.

Santoshi had learnt about different landforms at school again this year but the additional assignment was to make a model of any landform using modeling clay.

During our usual after-school phone call, she said she wanted to make a snow-capped mountain and had asked me to buy clay. Not just any clay but soft clay which is easier to mold and not the one used for making a clay Ganesha which was hard to mold.

Soft clay means mostly playdoh or fun-doh. I could find some Faber castell modeling clay but there was no brown colour. Nevertheless, I bought the Faber castell clay set along with hard clay in brown, white and orange (don’t ask why I had bought orange for making a snow-capped mountain because I really don’t know why).

Looking at the clay, obviously Santoshi wasn’t impressed. We tried mixing red and green clay of Faber castell, expecting a ball of soft, brown clay but ended up with soft, ugly-looking grey clay.

Also, the soft clay didn’t hold any particular shape because it was just too soft. We tried to use a small bowl to hold the shape but no, it wouldn’t work.

Alright, now we were down to making something using the hard clay. I told her that I will help her with molding the hard clay. She decided to make a volcano instead of a mountain since we have brought orange clay.

In order to get a rigid structure, we used the top of a small bottle.

We wrapped this bottle top with hard clay and this is what it looked like (view from top):

Looked pretty neat. Yup, we didn’t have enough brown clay, so used some left over clay from the previous project (clay Ganesha).

Using acrylic paints, Santoshi painted the exterior using brown at first.

Then, we added strips of bright orange clay for lava and inserted a small amount of clay, roughly made into a ball, stuffed it in the bottle’s opening. (Sorry, no pics at this point).

Used some red, orange and yellow paint for lava (make sure to paint the interior of the bottle’s opening too). Tada, here is a miniature volcano made of clay :

Santoshi was quite happy with this!

So, that’s all for this post. Thanks for reading!


Bird cage – paper craft


Santoshi had to recite a poem at school and marks will be awarded based on many criteria, one of which is props.

The poem was about a sparrow and a boy offers to make a silver cage for the sparrow. But the sparrow likes to fly free.

We (read I) decided to make 2 props – a bird cage out of paper and a drawing of a sparrow flying in the blue sky. As she is a talented artist, drawing became her responsibility.

I offered to make the cage using paper abs involve Santoshi in the making of it.

As usual, I turned to Google for ideas. Which led me to a couple of YouTube videos. I came up with my own version of a bird cage, keeping in mind the cradt items in my stash, time involved and more importantly, my ability to put the ideas into action.

These were the items used:

  1. Empty spool of cellophane tape
  2. Chart paper or card stock – to provide rigidity – any colour will do. I used black (left over after making the Halloween cat)
  3. Silver paper since the cage had to a soft cage for the poem.
  4. A length of string – used some yarn for hanging the swing inside the cage
  5. A piece of thicker card stock (used a packaging of Panasonic battery) for swing. Used this since the chart was not very thick.
  6. Glue
  7. A pair of scissors
  8. Ruler and pencil
  9. Thick, long needle to poke holes for the swing
  10. Cello tape

The spool is going to be the base. So, cover the entire spool in silver paper. The silver paper was very thin. So, had to cover the top and bottom of the spool with black chart before using the silver paper.

Using a pencil, trace the shape of the spool on the black chart (remember to trace on the outside rim. If you use the inside of the spool the trace, the circles will be smaller than the spool).

Repeat on the silver paper.

Cut to shape.

Add glue to the rim.

Align and stick the black chart first. Let dry.

Add glue to the black chart.

Align and stick the silver paper.

Now, let dry and repeat on the other side of the spool.

While the spool dries, let’s make a swing. I used a small strip from the battery package. Cover it with silver paper and let dry.

Now, it is time to make the rest of the cage.

Using a ruler and pencil, draw lines on the black chart to cut into strips (about 1 cm wide).

Cut them into individual strips.

Just so that the strips are silver on both sides, take each individual strip, paste one side on the wrong side of the silver paper.

Add glue to the side of the strip facing you, fold over and cut to shape. Repeat for each strip.

I made 6 strips (covered in silver paper). Four of these will be stuck to the side of the spool as the vertical bars of the cage. The remaining two will be bent to a circular shape.

Now, paste one end of strip to the side of spool and the other end of the same strip to the diametrically opposite side of the spool.

Add the bent strip about 3 inches above the base of the cage – this bent strip should be pasted to the inside of the bars. This will maintain the circular shape further up.

Add one more strip and using a piece of string or yarn, hang the swing from the top of the cage.

Add two more vertical bars to the cage. Align the other bent strip over the earlier one but this time, add it to the outside of the bars.

Cover the side of the base using silver paper. The spool is rigid enough that I didn’t have to use black chart.

The cage is ready!

Thanks for reading! Hope you like this post. If you have any feedback, please use the comments section! I’d love to hear from you!

Just to compensate for the bad quality pics, here is a picture of the sparrow drawn by Santoshi. 😀


Another year, another witch costume

Hello everyone!

This time my younger one decided to go to the Halloween carnival as a fairy. So, we used a frilly frock, bought a pair of wings which came with a hairband and magic wand. That was easy.

The elder one insisted on going as a witch. You may remember that the broom made for Anjana last year never made its way back home. This meant that I needed to make a new one for Santoshi.

Didn’t have much time. So I used the last year’s broom idea and made a few changes:

– the stick was way too thin. So, I put together 3 sticks and used cellophane tape. This made sure that any splinter from the stick didn’t bother Santoshi, apart from holding the sticks together.

– added a bow using a bright green satin ribbon

– made a cat using black chart paper. Created a rough free-hand drawing of a cat, coloured the eyes using crayons (made it hetero chromatic) and added thin strips for whiskers. Made a pretty bow out of a gift wrapper. Attached the cat to the broom by wrapping it around the broom. Used double-sided adhesive tape to hold it in place. The idea was to make it look like the cat is peeping out from behind the broom. I hope it looks that way.


A closer look at the cat

Bought a hat and a jack-o-lantern bucket at a local store. Also, added a purple apron to her black frock to add a dash of Halloween colour to the black frock.

There are many witches, but this one is mine!

This fairy too

Thank you so much for reading the post!

DIY oven from a carton


Been quite a few months, isn’t it? We have another interesting diy item for this post. It is an oven. I was thrilled to do it!

My elder daughter volunteered for a show at school, which is nothing new. The school let’s us run around for costumes and props, which is also not new. What was new and terrifying is that she “volunteered” me to make something out of broccoli! That’s a different story though.

Apart from an apron and toque, we have to send cutting boards, plastic (blunt) knife, mixing bowl, etc. for the show. Santoshi wanted to take an oven with her. Since I always prefer making things out of cardboard and paper rather than cooking, I decided to make an oven for her.

The most difficult thing was to get the right sized carton. I went to my mom’s garage and came back with two cartons, neither of which would make the perfect oven. Then, my best friend at work got the right box for me. Let’s see how a carton was reshaped into an oven.

Things used:

  1. Carton
  2. Scissors and box cutter knife
  3. Glue and tape
  4. Old newspaper
  5. Plastic sheet
  6. Fabric paint – silver and black
  7. Flat brush

Here is the box :

The box is going to be turned over – the lid will be facing us and about will open outwards from top to bottom.

Draw a line to roughly divide the lid into 80:20 ratio.

Cut along the line.

Using an sheet of paper, mark and cut a rectangle out of the centre of the lid.

It will look like this :

Now, wrap the outside of the oven and lid.

Paint it all black!

Well, not everything black – paint the door (openable portion of the lid) in silver. The silver paint was translucent. So I gave a coat of black first and then silver on top after the black paint had dried.

Add the plastic sheet from the inside. I added glue first, placed the sheet and then secured it with tape too.

It should look like this from the outside :

Now, glue the oven and door together at the base of the door and the throughout the side of the black portion next to the door.

We need a couple of dials next to the door to make it a little more realistic. Using the rectangle cut out of the lid, cut 2 stripes – about 1 inch in width and 5-6 inches in length.

Cut them into small squares, stack them up and secure using tape or glue. I used tape.

Cut 2 circles for dials. (No picture, sorry). Glue the stack to the black portion of the lid. Now, stick the dials to the stacks.

Here is your oven (closed):

Open Sesame!

Whew, that came out well!

Thanks for reading! Hope you liked the post. Please leave a comment!



DIY Frozen Anna Cloak


It’s that time of the year again where the kids want to dress up. Nope, not Halloween! It is the annual fancy dress competition at the local play centre.

Since I made a costume for my younger daughter Anjana (Little red riding hood), it was absolutely necessary that something was made for elder one too, even though the frock would have been enough.

So, I promised to her that I will make a cloak for her to go with this frock. I had promptly assigned the task of buying fabric to my mother (my very own Superhero who rescues me all the time). Unfortunately, Santoshi tagged along with my mother for this trip. Which meant that the fabric will be in purple colour


DIY Little Red Riding Hood costume

Hello after a long time!

The last few months have been a bit busy for me and my focus was on reading abs podcasts – do visit Digital Amrit for book reviews.

Coming back to the costume, both my daughters wanted to participate in the fancy dress (dress up) competition in the local play centre. It is an annual thing (last time it was Pongal pot and Christmas tree).

After thinking long and hard and going through the kids wardrobe and the stash of fabrics (that I carry for no reason), I found the Anna frock (which was bought almost 2 years back). Luckily, it still for my elder daughter Santoshi. So, her costume was settled – though I had to make a cloak for it.

Now for Anjana, I had to do more thinking (beep beep) and I ended up with Little red riding hood – chosen by Anjana (yup, I believe in democracy so long as it is convenient and switch to dictatorship when the going gets tough). The costume seemed easy enough – a pretty frock, a basket with cookies but the hood? Turned to my guru Google who promptly directed me to here thank you Google and my sincere thanks to Meg and Steph for the tutorial.

Here is what I used:

  • 1 Metre of red velvet fabric
  • A small piece of yellow cotton fabric for the lining (only for the hood)
  • A small length of red fabric as ribbons

I pretty much followed the tutorial to the t, except that I used ribbon instead of a clasp.

On the d-day, Anjana was like :

Unlike the other costumes, Anjana was thrilled about this costume! I had made it about a week in advance and she just couldn’t wait to put this on.

Thanks for reading my post!