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Iris Folding — A Fun and Easy Paper Folding Technique

Iris folding is a fun and easy paper folding technique that originated in Holland.  It’s an excellent way to use paper scraps, used envelopes, left over wrapping paper, etc.  The texture and depth of the card or scrapbook page you create are just amazing!  You start with a simple pattern; many basic templates are available for free online.  Iris folding is the layering of folded strips of colored paper (or even wide ribbon is neat) in a spiral pattern that resembles the iris of a camera.

Iris folding is similar to paint-by-number, except that you are using folded strips of paper instead of paint.  If you are using thin paper, it must be folded in half to create depth or if you are using cardstock, you do not need to fold the strips.  When creating our cards we worked from the back of our cardstock.  We traced our pattern in the center with a pencil.  It is very helpful to laminate your pattern so you can use it over and over again without it ripping or tape sticking to it.  Next, cut your design out creating an opening in the middle of the card.  Tape your pattern to your work surface and then lay your cardstock over your pattern making sure you are still working from the back.

The lines on your pattern indicate where the strips of paper will be placed.  Always keep the folded edges of the paper strips toward the center of your design.  Tape #1 strip using the specified color, then onto #2. It is important to layer in sequential order or your design will not flow.  I found it very helpful to mark my pattern with highlighters to distinguish the colors I would be using instead of always having to refer back to the color chart.  So if my pattern read:
A: 1,5,9,13
B: 2,6,10,14
C: 3,7,11,15
D: 4,8,12,16,
I would take 4 different color highlighters, one for each letter, and then highlight the numbers.  It is a real time saver.  When taping your pieces always be sure you are taping to your cardstock or other strips of paper.  Never tape anything to your pattern or work surface.  You will be very disappointed at the end if this happens.  Use little pieces of tape.  As you add new strips you may trim as you go along or at the end.  Continue in sequential order until you reach the middle and then turn your cardstock over.  Your masterpiece!!!  The results are quite impressive!  Tape another piece of cardstock to the back where you were working so no one can see the mess.

Since we were teaching approximately a dozen girls I tried to be organized.  Each girl was assigned a brown gift/shopping bag with their name written on an address label and attached to the handle.  Inside of the bag every member had their own roll of tape with their name on it as well.  We had downloaded a dozen free pattern templates and stapled them together into booklets for each member to use at the meeting as well as to keep to enjoy at home.  After a brief introduction and demonstration, the girls were able to choose from several projects.  We had displayed several card project ideas with a small clothesline.    Their gift bag now became an iris folded project as well.  They could put any cards they created into their bag for safe keeping.

Jody Sanger, Pennsylvania


Edible Art! Yum!

I think I’ll rename this meeting to snacktivity and drinks!  Each family was asked to bring enough supplies for every club member to make a creative food project. Everybody’s creative juices were flowing!!!  There were many edible art creations like chocolate covered cookies turned into bear heads, olives became penguins, cheese sticks turned into pencils, teddy grahams drove mini chocolate bar cars, and apples became frog heads.  The cupcake selection included…butterflies, lambs, and owls!  It was an excellent public speaking/teaching experience for the girls to present their family’s creation in a relaxed atmosphere.  A club member demonstrated how to make refreshing orange tea as well.   Everything looked too cute to eat!

Jody, Pennsylvania


Quilling – A Beginning Leads to More!

We have girls from five to fourteen years old.  For our quilling project, I wanted to make it as fun and economical as possible, so I purchased a multicolored packet of quilling paper for each girl and made a quilling tool for each one as well. This I did by purchasing wooden dowels from the craft store and sawing them down to the appropriate length. I then hammered the sharp end of a tapestry needle into the end of each dowel and cut off the tip of the eye to make a slot for the paper.

In order to help the girls learn the different shapes they could make with quilling paper, I made an empty chart of squares labeled with the names of the shapes. Once I taught them how to make each shape, they did it themselves and glued the appropriate shape onto the correct square. I made a couple of examples of pictures and cards they could make and then let them use their imagination to decorate the face of their own card. They had a lot of fun and some went on to purchase more quilling paper and delve into it themselves.

Julie, Florida


Snacks and Drinks – Chocolate Covered Spoons

Chocolate Covered Spoons and Hot Cocoa Packets too!

We began the meeting by blending a hot chocolate recipe in a food processer.  Different club members assisted adding various ingredients.  Once complete several girls helped divide the big bowl of cocoa mix into personal size bags, which would later be decorated with paper toppers.  Then the mom in charge demonstrated pouring chocolate onto the top of plastic spoons instead of completely immersing in chocolate.  This not only uses half the amount of chocolate but it is also less messy.  She had various toppings for the members to choose from to decorate their spoons.  She also mentioned you could poke candy canes through large marshmallows and dip them in chocolate as well.  Each club member was given a disposable plate to lay their spoons on as they created.  We put them in the refrigerator to help them harden before they were bagged and tied with a ribbon.

Jody, Pennsylvania


Chalk Drawing What a Blessed Skill to Learn!

Our club joined professional artist Elva Hurst for a “chalk talk” in her barnyard studio located locally.  Our senses were engaged through music, storytelling, and Elva’s amazing chalk artistry.  She has professionally pre-recorded a selection of inspirational messages that you may choose.  Then she illustrates the story right before your eyes.  Her website is www.elvaschalkart.com.  The club paid for the chalk talk but asked each member to supply the additional fee for a chalk lesson afterward.

Jody Sanger, Pennsylvania



The 20 Legacy teens recently earned the Archery badge.  Safety and bow and arrow parts were introduced before the Archers nocked their first arrow.  All the teens tried out the various recurve and long bows aiming at paper targets on hay bales. Everyone’s shooting improved each week!  We learned the importance of grip, stance, a full draw, the anchor, release and follow through.  Best of all, we exposed the teens to a unique and fun sport they were enthusiastic to try—many for the first time!

Cheryl Chew, Florida


Pottery, A Good Experience

Today we had our monthly Keepers at Home meeting and we focused on getting our pottery award.  My friend who does her own pottery taught us the different styles and techniques in pottery making.  I knew she was an excellent teacher, Mookie and Bubby loved her art class at our homeschool coop, but this was my first time seeing first hand how amazing she is!

She had the girls make a pinch pot, a coiled pot and then showed them how to throw a pot on a potter’s wheel.  Some even jumped in, got super messy and tried their hands at the wheel too!

Mookie was in her element with creating the pottery.  She enjoyed both styles she tried, but really took her time with the coiled pot.  She’s a little regretful she didn’t dive in and try the potter’s wheel—she’s never been into messy things—but maybe we’ll have another chance sometime.

Wendi Bevitt, Kansas


Doughnut Making

Our neighbor Amish ladies joined the fun to teach our Keepers Club how to make doughnuts!  We asked everyone to come prepared with aprons on and hair up.  Each member was going to be able to take a dozen doughnuts home so we asked them to bring containers as well.  The Amish ladies had mixed up a couple of batches before all the members arrived so some could be rising.  This enabled us to get started right away.  Since this was going to be a messy meeting we held it in the garage and outside.  No regrets, because oil and powdered sugar can make a huge mess with many helpers.  This is the recipe we used:

1 cup sugar
3 eggs beaten
1 Tablespoon salt

Mix together
2 cups hot water
1 cup lard or crisco (we used crisco)
2 cups mashed potatoes or potato flakes mixed with water to equal 2 cups (we used potato flakes)
1 Tablespoon lecithin (this helps make the donuts soft)
2 Tablespoons yeast dissolved in 2 cups warm water
10 cups occident flour  (This is a basic white flour for bread making)
2 cups donut mix

Knead together and let rise for approximately 1 hour in a warm place.
Roll out.  Cut donut shapes with cutter or the top of a glass works well.
Poke with a fork to prevent air bubbles later when frying.
Let rise.  Fry in vegetable oil approximately 1 minute each side or until golden brown.
Let cool.  Fill with cream or glaze and enjoy!

Once the Keepers Girls arrived we rolled out the dough and started cutting out doughnuts!  We only had one doughnut cutter so we used the top of glasses as well.  One of the Amish ladies suggested using our table extension leaves for the doughnuts to rise on.  After the doughnuts were cut out we let them rise  again . . . guess where?  In the back of our van!  The van was nice and warm inside so it made a perfect place for them to rise.  After the doughnuts rose we poked holes in the top of each one with a fork.  The Amish ladies said this prevents air bubbles from forming while frying.  If they get air bubbles, they won’t flip properly.  We bought a 5 gallon bucket of pre-made doughnut cream from an Amish bakery down the road.  Becca and Lillian, the Amish ladies, brought their doughnut fillers.  You poke a doughnut on the spout and pump the handle twice and then your doughnut is filled with delicious icing.  After the doughnuts are fried and filled, they are rolled in doughnut sugar!  Talk about good!!!  Each of the club members, no matter the age, were able to participate for there was plenty do!!

We made 250+ doughnuts with Keepers!  They were cream-filled and glazed doughnuts, blueberry cake doughnuts, and cinnamon sugar doughnut holes!

Jody Sanger, PA


Finger Painting

Who said finger painting is for kids?! My sister-in-law gave finger painting a whole new meaning! She made it look so fun and beautiful even the moms wanted to try! She showed the club different ideas how to use your fingers/hands to create unique pieces of art marked with your own print. We could use our thumb prints to create penguins or owls, or our whole finger to create a scarecrow or snowman scene. The amazing flower (resembling a peony) seemed to be a favorite.

First we prepared our canvases with background color. Then we chose our design, had a few mini puddles of paint squirted onto our palettes, and then began using our fingers. Sometimes you had to take time to wash your fingers/hands so you didn’t mix colors. If you got too much paint on your thumb for instance, you should dab it off so your picture didn’t look globby.

Jody Sanger



Having fun grilling

Having fun grilling

Three sessions were taught to the high school Contenders guys (4).  The sessions included safety, clean and attractive food prep and presentation.  Burgers, chicken, pork/kabobs were grilled.  Putting together a burger bar, marinade for the kabobs, and side dishes appropriate for the various meals were also incorporated.  We also made veggie and dessert on the propane grill.

Our group had a Game Night and the guys grilled hamburgers for the group on a Weber grill with charcoal.  We also went camping and the guys grilled hamburgers for everyone in a camping pit with charcoal.  They greatly enjoyed getting the fire ready, watching them cook, and savoring the flavor when the burgers were ready to eat.  They liked grilling for everyone and hearing the praise and affirmation that accompanied a job well doneJ

The notable difference between teaching the boys vs. teaching the same thing to the girls separately was the amount eaten.  The boys happily consumed two – three times the amount of the girls!

Cheryl Chew, Florida