Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Banner Made With Kites

What are the things that take you back to your childhood in springtime?  For me, it's jump ropes, hula hoops, jacks, roller skates, marbles, bubbles, pin wheels and kites.  Remember playing on the playground at recess when you could bring your jump rope to school?  Everyone lined up waiting their turn to enter the rope being turned by two playmates, chanting all the rhymes.  "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around.  Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground."  I have spent hours untold jumping rope.   I have probably roller skated around the world - twice.  Hours were spent mastering the hula hoop and all the tricks that could be done with it.  Those were the days when you spent every possible moment playing outside.  There were no video games, we made up our own games.  We didn't spend all our time in a car going from this team to that lesson to another team.  We played whiffle ball and kick the can in our back yards until dark.  We caught fireflies and headed home when we were called.  I have to say, those were some awesome days.

One of the things I loved to do most in the springtime on a nice windy day was to fly a kite.  When I was a child you could buy a paper kite for a dime and a ball of string for a dime.  That twenty cents could make for an entertaining day.  All you needed was a good brisk breeze which didn't cost anything.  There is something so amazing about watching a kite lift into the air with it's beautiful tail swaying in the wind, sailing above the ground tethered to the earth by only one thin line and you acting as the anchor.  Letting the string out so it could go higher, pulling it back in to keep it from spinning out of control.  Beware of kite eating trees!

A kite can be a simple diamond shape made from paper, two sticks, a tail and a string.  That's it.  And yet, that simple paper kite can soar with eagles.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to do that?  Soaring above the earth on a beautiful spring day, going where the wind would take you in the glorious sunshine, floating in the breeze, letting your mind drift - if only.  No, we are the one holding the string on the ground, but that is okay.  We can imagine the glory of sailing like that kite.

I wanted to make a spring banner for my mantle, so I bought four "fat quarters" in colors that I liked together.  When I sat down to make it, I realized I didn't want pennants, I wanted kites.  Nothing is more representational of spring to me than kites.  So I made a pattern and cut out kite shapes.  They are 6 inches long and 5 inches wide, cut in a diamond shape.  Then, I put ModPodge on the front and let it dry, then on the back and let it dry.  This gave it some body.
Now a diamond shaped kite has to have cross braces made of some kind of thin wood.  To represent that I used some silk cording I had bought for jewelry making.  I drew perpendicular lines with a pencil to make it easier to follow.  I used hot glue to place the cording.
As a crafter, I have all kinds of supplies on hand and I was very fortunate that this cording worked very well with my fabric.  I ran a bead of hot glue down the vertical line and placed a piece of cord on the glue and then did the same with the horizontal line.

Diamond shaped kites have a tail to keep them stable when flying.  The tail is string with fabric or rags tied on it.  I didn't want to use string because it would be too limp.  I wanted to be able to "shape" the kite and the tale, so I found some 20 gauge wire that I had from Lowe's.  Perfect.  I cut 12 inch pieces, one for each kite.
I used my needle nose pliers to twist the ends into curly cues like this.
I made two turns on each end.  That way I would be able to hang one end on the rope I used on the mantle and the other end would be long enough to make the tail.  I then ran a bead of hot glue down the back of the kite and hung the kite on the wire using the top curly cue.
To make the ties on the tail,  I used different colored ribbon that I already had and cut 1 inch pieces of it, 5 pieces for each tail.  I put a little dot of hot glue in the middle of each piece and pinched it together to make it look like a bow.  I held it until it dried and then hot glued each piece to the wire.  Love the way they look!

After I made 9 kites for the mantle, I placed them on a piece of lavender colored nylon rope that I had and hung the kites on it, spacing them out until I was happy with the look.  I hooked the end of the top curly cue through the rope so it wouldn't move, then bent the kites in different directions to make them look like they were flying in the wind.
Next, I cut 6 inch strips of the fabric used to make the kites and tied them on the line in a random pattern so they looked like the tail of a kite.
Oh, they make me so happy!  They say springtime and childhood memories and the joy of a perfect spring day.  If you look closely, you will see the paper pinwheels I made also.  We'll talk about those later!

Now, I want to go buy kites for all our grandsons and take them out to an open field and spend the splendor of a perfect spring day with them flying kites.   That would be quite a memory.  

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Imagination is the highest kite one can fly!  Lauren Bacall