Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gift Idea for Next to Nothing

I guess sometimes I get a little
not sure what word to use,
but let's just say not very merry
when I hear children wanting lists of
very big expensive items for Christmas.

The sad part is that often times
they don't know about some
smaller items that can bring
possibly even more fun
if the grown-ups would spend time
teaching them how to enjoy simple things.

all that said,
over the next month-ish
I will be posting some very
inexpensive gift ideas
for young and young at heart.

Today's Featured Toy~

Wooden Pick-up Sticks
There are only a few items needed
to make these:
25 Wooden Skewers
Food Coloring with a smidgen of Vinegar
(blue, green, yellow, & red,)
Black Permanent Marker
These are the longer ones, but I found them at
the thrift store for 89 cents.  Pick-up sticks
are only about 7 inches long so I just used
a pair of angle cutters to shorten these.
At the store, there are shorter ones available.
If you think the points are a little too sharp,
just use a pair of fingernail clippers to nip the ends.
Then, with just enough vinegar to make enough dye
to cover the sticks,
mix several drops of food coloring and vinegar
and roll sticks in it.
You should have 6 of each color.
I did this on a long serving plate,
then set them on news paper to dry.
I didn't use gloves so my fingers looked like Easter eggs,
but after doing up some dishes,
you can hardly tell:)
The last one is the pointer.
Using the permanent marker, color it black.
I used a rubber-band then
tied them with red jute and a little points tag.
Believe it or not,
until just a couple years ago,
Mr. LB had never played pick-up sticks.
The kids and I taught him how.
He was pretty good at it.
We talked, laughed, and tormented for over an hour.
Family time is a real gift. 

In case you too have never played:
Keep the black stick out (this is the pick up stick.)
Hold the others together &
let them fall in 'a pile' on a table or flat surface.
Usually, the youngest player starts & play
moves to the left.
The player uses the black stick to try to pick-up
another stick without moving any others in the pile
(so only the targeted stick should move.)
If any other sticks move, play goes to the next person.
If the stick is moved away from the others successfully,
then that player gets another turn.
When all the sticks are picked up,
add up the points as follows:
Yellow 10
Red 25
Green 40
Blue 50
The player with the most point wins.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches


  1. what a lovely idea and thank you for bringing back memories of childhood and playing this, both as a child and later with my girls who are now 41 and 37

  2. I hadnt thought of making our own! We will have to do that! I love that game, spent hours at it as a kid.

  3. I played this game endlessly as a young girl.
    I still believe in simple entertainment for kids....
    sidewalk chalk, bike riding, etc.

    Thanks for the great tutorial on making the pick up sticks.
    Looking forward to seeing more. ;)

  4. What a precious idea.

    And oh isn't it sad, that few teach little ones, how to play with simple toys, anymore?


  5. What a great idea. I think this would be fun to even pull out to play with adult friends. A little wine....a little pick up stick......lots of laughs!! Thanks.

  6. I love your idea for wooden pick-up sticks.........I myself spent many hours planning with them.

    Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  7. Great idea! and I must agree with you… greedy children doesn't make this mother merry either (have we created monsters?)… all the children want is time with their parents, now that is a priceless gift that makes me happy!!!

  8. Very clever idea!! We played pick up many times it's a game for the young and old!!!. I need 3 more stocking gifts for our grandsons...how perfect...they will certainly be entertained! Thanks for the tutorial!