A fantastically fun and easy game for kids to practice reading without it feeling like work! Five levels of vocabulary to get your child to immediately recognize sight words! Try not to get the rotten banana! (in English or Italian)

Rotten Banana: a fun early reading game

My little boy just turned six and is in first grade this year, which means that he’s learning to read and write. While my daughter had no problems learning written Italian in school and didn’t really need any outside help to pick up written English on her own, it hasn’t been quite as easy for […]

Learn how to make homemade pick up sticks (Mikado) from skewers, with a DIY pouch to hold them. Printable playing instructions included! A perfect gift for kids and adults! Tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Make homemade pick up sticks (with carry bag)

Toys are too complicated these days. I sometimes hear parents saying that their kids get bored if their toys don’t make sounds or light up, or aren’t animated or interactive games. And of course all these electronic toys and games cost more and break really easily. I sometimes feel like an old fogey, but seriously, […]

FREE sewing pattern! Get ready for school with this fully lined pencil-shaped pencil case tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Free Pattern! Pencil-shaped pencil case tutorial

Well, it’s fall again. Back to school. Back to work. Back to the gazillion activities each family member has. To celebrate this exciting time of year of beginnings, I’ve decided to offer my readers another FREE sewing pattern! Hooray! And even better, it’s part of my Learn to Machine Sew series, as the practice tutorial […]

DIY Tutorial: Crochet carry bags for kids from upcycled fruit nets. A quick gift in under an hour, perfect for collecting treasures at the beach or in the woods! www.cucicucicoo.com

Tutorial: Crochet Carry Bags from Fruit Nets

It all started with this. My son found some fruit nets in my collection of recycling-for-crafting and decided to use one to hang up his toys. Total genius right? And so, I came up with these: Oh yes! I took those fruit and onion nets and crocheted around their edges, creating a comfy shoulder strap […]

Jumping with Jurassic Joy! Upcycled Glovosaurs. Glove animal tutorial (dinosaur softies) by Sweater Doll for www.cucicucicoo.com

Glove animal tutorial: Upcycled Glovosaurs

Today I’m so happy to back with my Cucicucicoo’s Eco Crafters and Sewing series with the one and only Allison from Sweater Doll! Allison is a US expat, like me, living in Australia and creates the best fabric dolls and softies ever. Seriously, next time you’re considering buying a Barbie or other doll, check out […]

Beating the summer heat: Refreshing summer activities for kids to do in the house, without taking a step outside! www.cucicucicoo.com

Refreshing summer activities for kids in the house

Hello, all! I just got back home a few days ago from a 3-week trip to the States to visit family and friends. We had a great time, which is why- despite my best intentions- I didn’t do ANY of the blogging or pattern or shop work that I’d planned on. Whoops! But I really […]

Learn to Machine Sew practice tutorial: How to sew an easy zippered pouch for storing pencils, crochet hooks, makeup or whatever else! You can also change the dimensions and make an easy zippered pillow cover! www.cucicucicoo.com

Practice tutorial: How to sew a zippered pouch

A few days ago I published the latest lesson for the Learn to Machine Sew series on how to sew a simple exposed zipper. A lot of people are afraid of sewing zippers, but they’re actually really easy to insert once you know how to do it properly! Nobody likes to waste a zipper, so […]

Tutorial: Make easy recycled crowns for kids with foil wrapping paper and cardboard | www.cucicucicoo.com

Tutorial: Make Easy Recycled Crowns for Kids

Happy Easter Monday! Hope you had a lovely day yesterday! And if you have children, I’m sure you now have insane amounts of candy and chocolate in your home. Here in Italy there’s no Easter Bunny, but kids get these huge chocolate eggs with a little gift inside. The eggs are wrapped in big squares […]

DIY felt bowtie pasta tutorial... with a printable box!

DIY felt bowtie pasta tutorial…WITH BOX!

A couple of months ago, I wrote on my Facebook page that I was working on a project that just made me laugh… over and over again, the whole time I was making it. I’m certainly not the first person to make felt bowtie pasta (farfalle, in Italian), but throw in an authentic-looking pasta box, […]

How to keep playing at the beach... away from the beach

How to keep playing at the beach… away from the beach

Well, we’re now in September, it keeps raining, everything around is about back to school. The summer’s officially over. This is always one of the most depressing times of the year for me. But even if you can’t stay on vacation forever and have to eventually leave the beach (or wherever else you’ve been on […]

How to make easy letter magnets with kids

Tutorial: How to make easy letter magnets with kids

My kids, like pretty much every other kid I know, just love drawing and coloring. We just got back the other day from a fantastic visit with family and friends in the United States. Before we left, a friend of mine requested some of my children’s artwork to hang on her refrigerator as a gift. […]

Tutorial: How to make DIY mesh drawstring bags for the beach or pool from old shirts

DIY Mesh Drawstring Bags for the beach from old shirts

One thing I love about upcycling and refashioning is the challenge of figuring out what to do with, well… trash. I mean, just look at this horrifyingly ugly mesh shirt I found in a pile of used clothing at a market last year. But that awful thing just lit me up because as soon as […]

How to make a DIY Stuart Minion costume

Despicable Me costumes: make a DIY Stuart Minion costume

A few days have gone by since Carnival and I’m only now publishing the tutorial for Nicky’s costume going along with this year’s theme of Despicable Me 2: the Minion Stuart. Sofia and I thought that he should be Dave because of his fantasy with the agent Lucy Wilde (Sofia’s costume), but he had his […]

DIY Despicable Me costumes: Lucy Wilde's scarf and coat

Despicable Me costumes: Lucy Wilde’s scarf and coat

Back to our Carnival costumes! To recap, my kids are dressing up as Despicable Me characters and I’ve already written about the wig and accessories of Agent Lucy Wilde. But the costume is just not complete without her scarf and, even more importantly, her turquoise coat. What do you say? Is there a resemblance? (Ok, […]

DIY Despicable Me costumes: Lucy Wilde's wig and accessories

Despicable Me costumes: Lucy Wilde’s wig and accessories

Oh yes, my kids just love Despicable Me. (Evidence of this can be seen here, here and here.) And yes, this year my kids are dressing up as Despicable Me characters for Carnival. And yes, I’m making the costumes. Sofia decided to be AVL agent Lucy Wilde. Want to know how to make a fantastic […]

How to make super simple sticker magnets

How to make super simple sticker magnets

It all started with this Minion sticker. My daughter has a Despicable Me album with stickers that you collect and trade, then she plays with any extras that she has. Her little brother stuck this Stuart sticker onto a cabinet. While we allow the kids to write on the walls (want to see some of […]

How to make a crinkly taggie baby toy

How to make a crinkle taggie baby toy

It’s become a bit of a tradition that when one of my friends has a first baby, I make a couple of these crinkly taggie baby toys. It’s a known fact that babies frequently prefer playing with non-playthings, so you’ll find them having fun with the toy’s packaging instead of the toy or the tag […]

How to make a hat and scarf set from a hooded towel

How to make a hat and scarf set from a hooded towel

Kids just love hooded towels, especially when they’re shaped like some fun animal or creature. So my mother thought that a couple of adorable hooded towels would make a great gift for my kids. But I had a little surprise when I opened up the package. They were 100% polyester. Ummm, what?! I know that […]

Tutorial: How to make your own Play Doh picture mats

Tutorial: How to make your own Play Doh picture mats

Remember how my kids had the chicken pox last October, one right after another? Having them home for such a long time without being able to go out got old pretty quickly. Thank goodness for homemade Play Doh! To pizzazz up the usual Play Doh experience, I decided to make some picture mats for the […]

Use up yarn scraps with this fantastic holiday craft for kids! These Hopi Eye yarn Christmas ornaments are easy, colorful and fun to make. They also make great gifts! www.cucicucicoo.com

Woven Hopi Eye Yarn Christmas Ornaments – for kids!

Did you see the project I did with my daughter’s 2nd grade class the other day? They just loved weaving these Hopi Eye yarn Christmas ornaments, even when they didn’t come out exactly as planned. But who cares? They were all beautiful in their own way and the kids were so satisfied with themselves. This […]

Minions from upcycled materials

Make DIY Minions from Upcycled Materials: Tutorial

Today the movie Despicable Me 2 is coming out in the theaters in Italy. (Yes, considerably later than in the States.) My daughter and her cousin are besides themselves with joy. They’ve been waiting and waiting to see the Minions on the big screen. From what little I’ve seen of them, I honestly find them […]

Add a vinyl nametag slot to a backpack or other bag

Add a name tag to a backpack (or other bag)

Yesterday my little 2 year, 8 month old boy had his first day of public nursery school. And two days before that, I suddenly remembered that he needed a little backpack for school. I didn’t want to buy another because we already have gazillions of little bags and backpacks at home, except it turns out […]

peppa pig magnets

homemade upcycled peppa pig magnets

my kids just love peppa pig. so they were pretty lucky to have gotten the joy of 3 peppa pig mega easter eggs this year. it seemed a shame to throw out the outer papers with their favorite characters (as well as the crayon container from inside one of the eggs), so i decided to […]

DIY stuffed snake toy

Anti-Ikea

ok, so i’m not really against ikea, but sometimes i just can’t stand buying something, no matter how inexpensive it may be, if i can make it myself (like my cat neck pillow). it happened one day about a year ago (yes, i am a bit behind with some posts…) with this little stuffed snake […]

easy DIY witch cape

Super easy witch cape

if you’re anything like me, you might’ve procratinated a bit for halloween. my daughter was invited to a halloween party for the first time this year (where we live it’s not really celebrated). she already had a witch hat, but it really needed something more. so i decided to make her a witch cape. it’s […]

bottle cap dog tags and collars

Upcycled bottle cap dog tags

remember these metal bottle caps (left over from our glass water bottles) and t-shirt sleeves (left over from various projects, such as my bathroom rug)? i also posted a photo of a bunch of cardboard boxes. this stuff was all for a children’s “green art” project that i participated in last week, during which the […]

Catty Neck Pillow

Catty neck pillow

i’d considered calling this post “anti-ikea” because it is a result of my refusing to buy a cheap object for my little girl just out of pure stubborness. and why? because it was something i could make myself the way i wanted to. and i did make it my way, putting in way more time […]

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Tutu and wings

i’m really really proud of myself…i made my kids’ carnival costumes myself and i finished them a whole TWO days before my daughter’s school party! i finished them so early that i decided to make a copy of two parts of my daughter’s costume as a gift for her friend’s birthday. i’ll publish the costumes […]

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From puzzle mat to bulletin board

last week i made stamps from the letters from one of those little foam letter puzzles and i wondered how to use up the remaining foam pieces. i got some good ideas from my readers, but in the end i made a little “cork” board for my daughter, completely from upcycled materials, obviously! i put […]

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From puzzle mats to stamps

last month i saw this post on pane, amore e creatività and it had some bad news: the foam used for those little or huge letter and number puzzle mats contains toxic substances! (for more information, in italian, sorry, you can look here and here.) yikes! and to think that my little girl has two […]