Collect and Play: Have Fun With a Toy Hobby

Some adults never seem to grow up.  They seem to retain their childlike wonder at the world around them.  These are the adults who have started a toy hobby. Kids like to hang around with these adults because they seem more like kids.  Sometimes having a child or a grandchild can spark an interest in toys.  Be that as it may, a toy hobby will keep a person young at heart.

Many women love dolls and never outgrow them.  Some prefer baby dolls, some fashion dolls, and still others go for antique or decorative dolls.  Often an interest in dolls will spill over into a craft interest, as the doll lover begins to craft clothing and accessories for favorite dolls.  Sometimes the hobbyist becomes skilled at crafting the dolls themselves.  Some types of dolls that are often hand-crafted are rag dolls and cloth bodied dolls with ceramic heads.  It is not uncommon to find older women who have an entire room of their homes filled with special dolls on display.

Older men, on the other hand, (and sometimes women, too) often like cars and trucks.  Antique metal cars are hot collectibles, with some older ones being quite valuable.  Matchbox cars have always been loved, but so have the large Tonka dumptruck, road grader, and bulldozer.  You can bet the grandkids will want to play with your trucks and cars.

A toy hobby that is extremely popular is collecting Beanie Babies.  These small velour animals, made by the Ty company, each have a personality all its own.  You can find Beanie Babies in every type of animal you can think of.  A similar hobby is collecting teddy bears.  There are many Beanie Baby teddy bears, but a teddy bear collector will probably want to branch out to collect other types of bears.  In fact, many bear collectors have figurines and other items collected in addition to their teddy bears.

Wooden toys are popular among adults, both to craft and to collect.  There is something quaint and pleasant about a child playing with a handcrafted wooden toy.  Wooden toys make attractive home accents wherever they get dropped, which is not something you can say about the latest plastic gizmo.  People who like country decorating often prefer wooden toys for their kids.

You don't have to outgrow toys!  A toy hobby will keep you young at heart and make you a favorite among the kids in your neighborhood.  Whether you collect toys or craft them, a toy hobby is something you can play around with!

 Wedding Crafts Ideas for Saving Money

Weddings are a joyous occasion but can get expensive in a hurry.  With wedding crafts you can insert a personal touch and hold the price down as well.  Here are a few ideas for wedding crafts to add sparkle and creativity to your big day.

It is not that hard to create your own wedding veil.  To make this wedding craft, you will need a length of bridal illusion in the desired length.  You will also need a comb to attach it to your hair and a hat or headpiece to cover the comb.  Sew large running stitches about an inch from the end of the illusion and gather it tightly.  Now  sew the veil to the comb.  Top with hat or headpiece.   As an alternative, you can decorate a wide-brimmed straw hat with silk flowers, ribbon, and pearls.

The bouquets and floral arrangements can also be personally crafted.  For a simple outdoor wedding, consider wild flowers.  They are free and have a charm all their own.  Bouquets can be arranged in large clear vases, with a bow tied elegantly around.

Favors for the guests are particularly appropriate wedding crafts.  Refrigerator magnets are a simple and well-received favor.  A really nice idea is to make a magnetic picture frame and include a picture of the couple.  You could cut a frame out of craft foam in one of the wedding colors, arrange over the photo, and glue all onto a cardboard backing.  Place self-adhesive magnet tape on the back of the cardboard.  Decorate the front of the frame with foil heart stickers and a monogram of the couple's last name. 

Bows for the ends of the pews or rows make simple wedding crafts.  Wide velvet ribbons are nice for fall and winter weddings, while satin is more appropriate for spring and summer weddings.  Loop some flat lace in with the ribbons.  In the center of the completed bow, attach some silk flowers and pearl sprays with a hot glue gun.

Perhaps you'd like to try your hand at decorating your own cake.  Check the craft section of the department store for pans and gadgets of all types to help you create a cake to remember.  Do remember, though, that it takes a steady hand.  Be sure to practice before starting on the real cake.

Preparing for a wedding can be expensive, but with wedding crafts, you can take some of the sting out.  Plan early, however, because it will take a little while to make favors for everyone and all the other little details you will want to take care of.  Maybe creating wedding crafts will even relieve some of those wedding jitters.  In any event, crafting your own wedding items is a way to have a personal, beautiful, and less expensive wedding.

Cute Wooden Handicraft:  Make a String of Hearts

Everyone loves heart-shaped decorations.  This cute wooden handicraft can be hung over a doorway or as part of a wall display.  Paint the hearts red, pink, and white, and you will have a decoration for Valentines' Day.  Paint them red and green for Christmas, or red, white, and blue to display love for America.  You can leave it plain for a natural look.  The string of hearts wooden handicraft fits well with country style furnishings.

To make the string of hearts, you will need 5 wooden heart cut-outs approximately three inches wide, a drill with an eighth inch bit and a quarter inch bit, a small amount of raffia, two yards of 1 -1/2 inch wide soft ribbon, two large wooden beads, and acrylic paints in the colors you want.  The ribbon and the beads should match the color sceme you desire.  Plaid ribbons are particularly effective.  The string of hearts has five hearts side by side tied together with small raffia bows.  The first and last hearts have the wide ribbon strung through a hole on each side and a bead strung on the ribbon.  The ribbon is knotted at the very ends, making a loop of ribbon on each end which can fit over a nail for hanging. 

The first step in making the wooden handicraft is to drill a small hole on each side of the hearts.   The two outside holes are made with the quarter inch bit, and the other holes are made with the 1/8 inch bit.  Now paint the hearts with the acrylic paint in the colors you desire.  Acrylic paints are the small bottles of craft paint that are sold in 2-ounce bottles in a wide variety of colors.  They can sometimes be purchased very inexpensively.  Tempera paint will work if you can't get acrylic paints.  Another idea is to spray paint them, especially if you want to use a metallic color.

When the paint is dry, tie the hearts together with the raffia.  To do this, cut four 10-inch lengths of raffia.  Thread the raffia down into one hole and up through the hole on the next heart so that they lay side by side.  The raffia should be tied in a neat bow on the top of the arrangement.  Do the same between the rest of the hearts so that all the small raffia bows are on top.  Trim the raffia ends if necessary.

Through each of the outside holes, thread one of the ribbons.  Pull the ribbon through until the ends are even.  Thread the large bead over both ends and slip it up close to the heart.  Trim the ends of the ribbon decoratively and knot them.  Repeat the process on the other side to complete the wooden handicraft.  Now hang the string of hearts wherever desired for a cheerful decoration.  A wooden handicraft like this makes a nice gift for someone special.

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