Rainy Saturday evening – and I am stocking up my present box by making some kids juggling balls for all the birthday parties DS2 is attending this next month.
Sewing for girls is easier – the cute little reversible bags can be whipped up out of scraps in no time flat. Sewing for boys is another kettle of fish …………. well it is when you are trying to impress a “soon to be six-year old”
But these rice filled juggling balls – made from a japanese pattern are just the right size for little hands and light enough than when they get tossed around the room (and they will) nothing too bad can happen.
I’m counting these as an “Educational Toy” – cos there has been lots of amazing research about how juggling can help calm the ADHD brain, can promote Alpha waves and increase cognition and recall. The main reason though is Juggling is FUN!!! So grab yourself some scraps and cut 6 pieces in fabric one 1 3/4″ by 3 1/2″ in size – then six pieces in a contrast or toning fabric. This is enough to make three Ote-dama balls – the perfect amount to learn how to juggle.
Brights are lovely – but I find the six year olds find them a little “babyish” so I have gone for some “big boy plaids and plains” ;left from some shirts I cut up.
Erm! He has been invited to a LOT of birthdays – I am sitting here this evening with a production line going. Mind you if it saves me average cost for a pressie, card and wrapping of £10 …… then I am saving myself £100 this evening by running these up.
Now – these are a little fiddly …. not difficult but if you can think “fabric origami” you are not going too far wrong. Take is step by step and once you have worked your way through the first one you will soon pick up the knack. There’s a lot of sewing and folding of corners ….. so be patient.
Also – I can do the whole “sew to the seam allowance and pivot the needle thing” on the machine ……but I have been using a sewing machine for nearly 40 years now. If you are not super confident then simply hand sew these – they are so tiny that they are the perfect “sew-along” project when you are out and about – just tuck them inside a zip up baggie and you are off.
Lay out your pieces – it takes four pieces to make one Ote-dama. You are going to sew the very short seam indicated by the arrow using a 5mm seam allowance. Its important not to sew in the seam allowance … so start 5mm from the beginning of the seam and end 5mm short. Now for these instructions I am going to be working with just the bottom pair. Pivot the fabric around ninety degrees to line up with the bottom edge of the fabric and sew another seam joining the end of the vertical seam and running horizontal …. but stopping 5mm short of the fabric ending (the bit under my thumb up there ^^) So you have now sewn two seams and your fabric will stick up like the side of a box. The next seam will be to fold the two edges indicated by the arrow together and sew them from the bottom of the cube you have formed to the end (stopping 5mm short)
Now you have an “open-faced box” kind of thing going on. Check it looks like this on the inside! It does …………… fabulous!! Do it with the other two pieces of fabric for your first ball. Now – using my picture for reference …………….. stand up and pat your head and rub your tummy!!! Seriously even I have to think twice about this step and refer back to the picture :-)
Now you continue with each “sticky out tail” by folding it through a ninety degree turn and sewing a seam …. it will make much more sense when you are actually holding this in front of you believe me. Eventually you are left with one short end not seamed – carefully turn the ball through the short seam so that the right side of the fabric is showing and pin back your 5 mm seam allowances.
Poke out the corners with a crochet hook or pencil so that the points are crisp then fill the bag carefully with 5 – 6 teaspoons of dry rice. Bargain basement cheap long grain is fine you really don’t need to use your gourmet basmati.
With a fine needle and matching thread whip the seam shut securely.
One Ote-Dama juggling ball for little hands ……………. of course you need to make them in batches of three so that your birthday child has the full set.I’m not sure which ones I like best – the blue or the green. But I shall finish these tonight and then think about whipping up a batch of simple draw-string bags in the morning to store them in.
Made from scraps and filled with a handful of rice ……………….. ticks all my boxes for a fun gift for a little lad that is just in my “non-existent” pressie budget this month (I told you this month was Car-Tax month didn’t I????)
Now scuse me ladies but I have another 24 of these wee beauties to do before bedtime LOL
Go on ………………. if it’s raining tomorrow who is going to give these a wee go??