Craft Fair at Freighthouse


Freighthouse Square by the Tacoma Dome is a great place for all kinds of gatherings! While Ive missed the first two craft fairs, there is one more – and just in time for Christmas!

November 10th

Handmade arts and crafts from the best artisans!


How to Make a Paracord “Survival” Bracelet

This can be a really fun craft for your older kids, and a great way to build awareness of giving as well as the wonderful service that our military members provide all of us!

Operation Gratitude Blog

Quick Deploy Style
Please note — 
IMPORTANT: You can find additional information, instructions and tips here: Paracord “Survival” Bracelets FAQs & Tips

Watch this video to learn how to make the new Quick-Deploy style bracelets we are now sending in our care packages:

Click here for the paracord jig layout PDF referenced in the video.

If you’re left-handed, you can watch a tutorial that’s just for you!

In 2012 we began supporting the emergency first responderswho volunteer with the disaster response veterans service organization, Team Rubicon. One of the important items we include in our First Responder Kits are Paracord “Survival” Bracelets. Not only are the bracelets really cool-looking, they can actually be used to save a life in an emergency situation.

The bracelets have become so popular we now include one in each of our care packages! OpGratVolunteers Bracelets

To meet the increased demand, we learned how to make our own bracelets and we’ve asked volunteers to start making them, too.

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Toilet Paper Car Craft

Crescent and Old Lace: Small Cars. Made from toilet paper rolls.

This looks like such a fun craft! The baby may be too young yet, he would just tear it apart, but the older kids would get a kick out of making and “racing” them.  We did a trains, planes and automobile summer camp a few weeks ago.  In this camp, they “made” a city with roads and buildings, parking garages etc. Taking a diaper box, they will amuse themselves for a few hours cutting, coloring (washable markers only – Thanks Crayola) and making the cars to drive on the roads in the city.  How ingenious.  The original website is Hungarian – but Google translates it fairly well.

Have fun and let me know how you played with yours! 

“Pictures for Patriots Contest” — Take Two! | Operation Gratitude Blog

“Pictures for Patriots Contest” — Take Two! | Operation Gratitude Blog

This is a great contest for the littles.  It is after Memorial Day and too soon for Veterans Day, but it is still a great practice to show our gratitude for our troops. The airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines who put themselves in difficult situations, just so you and I can live freely. I try to do a gratitude journal every day (it’s more like every week at this point, but hey – I’m trying). Point is, we can always teach our kids to be grateful for what they have and what others do for them.

This blog has directions where your child can submit a drawing where they can thank troops for their sacrifices.  And, if your childs drawing is chosen, they may win a prize and their picture will be chosen as a magazine cover.

WHO: Students entering grades K-12 may submit original artwork to the “Pictures for Patriots 2012 Contest”

WHAT: Artwork (up to 8″ x 10″ laid out in a vertical format) with a “Patriotic-Thank you Military” theme.  The winning entries will be selected by a panel of Veterans. Enter as often as you wish — the more the better: All appropriate artwork submitted to the contest will be sent in Operation Gratitude care packages!

WHEN: Entries may be submitted now through July 10. (Must be postmarked by July 10, 2012.) Include name of entrant, plus age, grade and full mailing address and contact email address on the back of each entry.

Click the link above for the directions on entry such as: mailing address and other specific requirements such as paper size and portrait vs. landscape.

PRIZES: ALL entrants will receive a special Operation Gratitude Dog Tag just for entering! 

In addition, the top three winning entries will receive these additional prizes:

1st PLACE:
•$100 Target Gift card
•Operation Gratitude Battalion Buddy
•Paracord  “Survival” Bracelet
•Artwork featured on the front cover of the next Operation Gratitude Magazine
•Copy of the Magazine

2nd PLACE:
•Operation Gratitude Battalion Buddy
•Paracord ”Survival” Bracelet
•Artwork featured on the back cover of the next Operation Gratitude Magazine
•Copy of the Magazine

3rd PLACE:
•Paracord ”Survival” Bracelet
•Artwork featured in the next Operation Gratitude Magazine
•Copy of the Magazine

Every child receives a small token of appreciation in the mail.

Nature Journal

I love fun crafty ideas.  Some stuff is just too skilled and takes years to learn to do right, like my friend who can sew anything.  Other things, that take an eye for balance, maybe color and a little bit of time…that is more my bag.  In an effort to keep my kids engaged, I try to do some interesting craft type things that have some hold-over value.  It builds the fine motor skills, but is also something they can tell a story with.

This next craft is a Nature journal and is inspired by two things: Pinterest (of course) and a tweet I saw from @ThurstonTalk.

From Pinterest

A nature journal is something you write down what you observe on your walks through parks, beaches, and even in your own backyard.  By having children write down their own ideas of what is interesting, you can gain insight into what they find fun and it also builds critical thinking skills.

In Thurston County, the LOTT Wet Science Center has a FREE craft where you can create your own nature journal activity.  Kids can make their own books Saturday, June 2nd between 10-4pm.

500 Adams Street NE

Then, you can take the kids on any number of trips later that day down in Olympia.  (all ideas from the Thurston Talk website:

  • Bird watching at East Bay
  • Family Bike Ride
  • Tumwater Historical Park for the NW Run for Rhett event. (It starts at 9, so the kiddos will have to make the books after)
  • The water at Port Plaza