Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pokin' Along....


What's small, round and cute, fits nicely into the palm of your little hand, is able-to-see-quite-well-thank-you-very-much through a pair of plastic wiggle eyes, lives in a box, swims in a puddle, climbs on the rocks, snaps at a mosquito, snaps at a flea, snaps at a minnow, snaps at me, and goes pokin' along on a string after being made at grandma's house on an afternoon full of sunshine and fun?

Your guess:

Pet turtles for everybody?


Pet turtles for everybody! YES!

2013 version of my original creation
Wish I still had the first one!
I actually remember being a Kindergartner (over half a century ago!) and thinking I was "all that" because I made my own little walnut-half turtle who busily rolled along, powered by a marble hidden beneath his shell. My little guy was one of a very sparse inventory of craft projects we made from things that were free. Welcome to the 50s. Classroom art cupboards held paints and paper. Nothing more.

I also remember stringing together paper caps, ones diligently saved from glass bottles that delivered morning snack milk. Stupid white yarn! It snarled at me and tangled, and in frustration I tossed it beneath my table. The dark shadow that immediately appeared behind me was Sister Conrad. She called me a naughty girl and made me retrieve and complete it. Who in their right mind would ever want to wear the "belt" that bungled mess eventually became? Not me.

And those two projects - the very best and the very worst - are the only ones I remember from my inaugural year as a student.

Unless you live next door to a tree farm with a friendly neighbor, you might have difficulty finding whole shell English walnuts at times during the year other than Christmas. I had some then, but handed them out a few each day to our friendly little backyard squirrel, "Nut Case." Last week I ordered some online. Paid more for shipping than the one pound bag I received. But it was worth it. This grandma was in a turtle-making mood and anxious to see if critters who charmed her past would have the same effect on the grandkiddoes today!

In our family, everything's a cat toy! Bree's pet, Ted, thinks she made this one for him.

Draw a free hand turtle outline a bit larger than the walnut half on card stock and cut it out. Kids can paint the shell and draw features on the body. Cut a hole a bit smaller than a marble in the center of paper turtle. Place marble inside the shell and glue body in place over it. Pull a needle with a long length of heavy thread through the nose and knot to complete.

Yet why settle for one species when you've got the audience to launch full scale Turtle-Mania? We had leftover air dry clay from several successful past projects and decided to see what happens when you connect six ovals in three different sizes. Our little critters looked terrific in their stylin' acrylic colors and there weren't enough buttons on the planet to decorate the shells they call home.

Buttons? Glue? All gone?
And you think I might know where they went?
And the little reptile I described in the first paragraph? Well, he caught the mosquito, he caught the flea, he caught the minnow, but he didn't catch me! *

*Vachel Lindsay wrote The Little Turtle poem for his niece in 1918, well before even I was born! (really!)


  1. Fantastic! Sounds as if everyone enjoyed the projects, even the cat! Well, especially the cat, but I love the button turtles. Wonderful!

  2. Awwww, what fun projects for the grandkids. Thank you for the grand ideas :)

  3. Too darn cute! Glad you took pictures because this is precious! Linda

  4. So cute - my grandsons might get a big kick out of the marble turtle. I'll have to get to the store and buy some walnuts in the shell. Our grocery stores carry nuts in the shell all year round. I'll have to pick out the walnuts - or maybe just get a pound of mixed nuts and eat the others too.

  5. These are adorable! As always, your post was so enjoyable to read.

  6. LOVE your turtles! That is absolutely the cutest picture of Bree! I clicked to go to your link and it opens to just her cute little face and made my smile just as big! Looks like you had a great time as always. I don't ever remember making turtles like that. Very cute!

  7. I have a turtle collection so just may have to duplicate your efforts. You know, you can never have too many turtles!

  8. So cute ! And that first picture....she is so adorable in that pic that I just bust out laughing! :)

  9. It looks like you all had a great time. And I forgot about making turtles from walnut shells. Hope you have a wonderful day.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  10. Oh this is so beautiful. The children really had a good time. Great activity for their development & creativity. Thanks for sharing.
    Visiting from Cuddlebug Cuties ( at Sunday Linky Party
    Have a nice week.

  11. Hi this is adorable, you've given me an idea for the next fun toy for my son. glad I came thru Cuddlebug Cuties

  12. What a fun project ~ for children of *every* age!

  13. How does the marble turtle work? It doesn't look like there's a hole under the marble to make it roll along the floor. Intriguing idea.

    1. The walnut turtle has a hole cut in the center of the paper body that's a little smaller than the marble. After the paper body is glued to the shell the marble partially falls into the hole and that's how it rolls. However, to be honest, you could do very well without it and just pull the little guy along on a thread! I used the marbles just because that's the way my very first project was made!

  14. Love these colourful creatures, but love your comment about being a kindergartner over a half century ago, even more! It sure feels that way :)

  15. These turtles are so cute. I love them. I think Our Little Princesses would enjoy making and playing with them too.

  16. Precious, as your crafts always are, not only because the crafts are the. most. awesome. ever, but also because those grandkids are so incredibly cute. Great idea.

    (Speaking of turtles, I was always very jealous of my cousins who had a REAL turtle, a little tiny one in an aquarium. Now that I'm a grownup, your marble ones are far preferable to those harboring horrible germs and ickiness.)

  17. These are adorable turtles! Love the kitty picture. That is too cute. Thank you so much for sharing at A Bouquet of Talent this week. Have a wonderful week. :)

  18. What a wonderful time at grandma's house, not there yet, can wait, but can't, if you know what I mean. Mine our 21, 16 and 14, so this scene for me is in the future. Excited to know one day I can do this with grandchildren as I did with mine when they were younger.

    would love for you to share this at Tuesdays With a Twist.

  19. Love the turtles, but could squeeze those little cheeks on your granddaughter. She's beautiful and your grandsons are handsome little guys.

  20. Congrats, Grandma!
    Your tutorial was picked and featured by our Bowdabra Designers in our Eco Friendly collection today from last week's Crafty Showcase. All those turtles are adorable, especially the walnut half! What a great idea.

    Stop in to see your feature. See you tomorrow at the new Crafty Showcase!

    Susie @Bowdabra

  21. Oh Grandma - a woman after my own heart.
    I have written Tadeo Turtle - with crafts at the end. And I blog on Saturdays Crafts. We made Tadeo Turtles using egg cartons.
    Please drop over and take a look.
    Check out Crafting Saturdays on my blog

  22. Bree is the cutest thing! How do you do anything but squeeze and kiss her?! Love this turtle, very clever project. I don't think I have ever heard or read about put a hole with a marble like that. Hmmm....what else could we make using that technique? Thanks for linking my friend :)

  23. Such beautiful grandchildren. You do the sweetest projects with them. I enjoyed mine this week, too.

  24. Visiting from the Pin It Party. My Family-Focused Monday hop is live now and I would love to see one of your awesome posts linked up @

    Have a wonderful week.

  25. Loving your blog and visiting from the Meet and Greet Blog hop


  26. What an adorable little turtle! Great fun!
    New GFC follower, here from Meet & Greet - Congrats on being this week's featured guest!

  27. Very cute project, might have to give it a go the next time I have my little cousins in tow, 6 lasses under age 4:) I love your cat in the sidebar by the way!
    New GFC follower, here from Meet & Greet

  28. Oh this is great! I am sure that the cats agree with me. I hope you'll consider sharing this post at Look What We Did, a month long link up sponsored by HammockTracks. This is a very fun craft and I think the readers there would enjoy seeing it. You are a great Grandma and how lucky the grandchildren are that we live in a time where they can access this blog for years and years. -Savannah

  29. These are so cute, but I especially love the photo of the cat playing with the walnut shell turtle! lol!

  30. These are so cute-- a perfect summer activity! :)