When O's & X's isn't only O's & X's

I think I'm addicted to posting. When I'm not posting I'm thinking about my next post. My conversations with my husband often revolve around which craft project I'm thinking of posting next. He's being doing such a good job I've decided to appoint him my editorial assistant. I'm not quite sure if he sees this as such a great promotion though.

I like making games with kids and I'm always trying to find new ways to make them. It's good for kids to play with games they've made themselves. They learn that the simplest materials can be turned into something really great, that it doesn't have to cost a lot to be good...it just needs a lot of love and care in the way it's put together.

One of the first games I designed was a O's & X's pouch. I make it with 7-8 year olds who have come to a few of my classes so they have some sewing experience. I'm posting 3 different versions of the pouch. The first version is made with cotton, the second with felt and the third is a glued version i.e with no sewing at all (this is for anyone who doesn't trust their sewing skills).

The game pouch is made from two circles each 23 cm in diameter. The cotton version has a middle layer of wadding to give thickness. The grid of the game is made up of four rectangular strips 15cm long x 1.5cm wide. I've used Vlisofix to stick the grid on in the cotton and unsewn felt versions, but in the sewn felt version, I pin the the grid strips in place while I'm sewing because I find Vlisofix a bit hard to sew through. The holes for the carry cord have been made with a hole puncher designed to make holes in leather.

In the cotton version I contrast different materials for inside and outside to give visual interest. A satin cord with a few beads threaded on helps to hold the pouch closed. Also, you need to sew the game grid onto the inside circle before you sew the inside and outside circles together (and remember to put a circle of wading in-between them).

If you look you'll see that I've also sewn tiny beads around my game grid to give it a delicate decorative effect.

And I also like the effect of a scalloped edge (I've got wavy scissors that do this) with this sort of material.

Here is the sewn felt version of the game pouch. Whatever you sew onto the outside circle should be sewn on before you sew the two circles together. And be careful not to place the pieces of your design too close to the edge of the circle - you will need to leave a border of 1cm to punch your cord holes into. Also remember: only punch your cord holes through after both the inside and outside circles have been sewn together.

When I design the outside I tend to leave the centre of the circle more or less empty because this is the base on which the pouch rests. Here I've made the flower centres fairly big in order to show the girls in my classes different ways of sewing their flowers on.

Finally a glued felt version that doesn't require any sewing at all..

Have fun making the game pieces from anything you want. In the past I've used clay, stones & shells, buttons, etc. Here I've taken some glass beads, cut off some flowers from an old piece of trim, glued them onto one group and left the other group plain in order to distinguish the "O's" from the "X's".

Phew! Hope it's all clear. But if you have any questions, you know where to send them.