Sparkle Stories Blog

friday’s kind words

 Whenever a Sparkle family takes the time to share their experience with the stories, we are delighted and moved.  Each week we like to share some of the kind words we receive!

:::

Sparkle has been a daily part of our boys’ lives for more than half their lives. Four years now!

Every story is a testimony to the love you put into your work and into the world.

Big love and wholehearted support here!

~Traci & Alan, comments from our Kickstarter


sparkle crafts – pictorial family cookbook

www.sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | pictorial cookbook

In this week’s Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays! story, “Ramps and Rapunzel”, Mama, Martin, and Sylvia receive a delicious gift from the woods as they are exploring one day – ramps (otherwise known as wild leeks)! Mama and the kids decide to make ramp pesto, after considering all the other pesto possibilities (you can download the basic pesto recipe HERE). As the noodles and pesto cook, Martin and Sylvia are excited to try their hand at making their own pretend pesto using ok-to-touch plants such as flowers…and many more ramps. Ultimately, with a little nudging from Mama, Martin and Sylvia decide to use the ramps for real pesto instead – grateful for the gift they’ve been given – and a bit more aware of how much they are taking from nature. Continue reading “sparkle crafts – pictorial family cookbook” »


NEWEST “Martin & Sylvia” Summer Audio Book


INTRODUCING!

 The NEWEST
Martin & Sylvia Audio Book:

goose.eye.wildnerness

“Goose-Eye Wilderness Summer Camp”

Follow Martin through his week at Goose-Eye camp,
while Sylvia has her own camp experience at home!
  

It’s a Kickstarter Exclusive!

Five adorable summertime audio stories
filled with ideas and projects for your
own at-home summer camp
!

Find it in the REWARDS Section
of our Kickstarter Campaign 
HERE.


 With your pledge, you will also receive
two other Sparkle Stories rewards:

seed.of.a.story2 copy

​A SECOND Sparkle Audio Book!
A collection of Sparkle’s “Twelve Best Sparkle Podcast Stories”.  Over 3 and ½ hours of stories in an mp3 download.


Martin & Sylvia Summertime Story
“Planting the Seeds of Summer Camp”.


(The Audio Books will be available upon successful completion of the Sparkle Kickstarter Campaign,
but the Summertime Story will be emailed to you within 24 hours of pledging!)

 

JOIN US!

Make our Kickstarter Campaign a success!
Help us build that Sparkle Story App!
And enjoy some of your favorite stories in the process.

Your support makes a huge difference!

 

Find the Sparkle Kickstarter Campaign HERE.



friday’s kind words

Whenever a Sparkle family takes the time to share their experience with the stories, we are delighted and moved.  Each week we like to share some of the kind words we receive!

:::

Blessings to you and yours as you embark on your Kickstarter campaign….What a gift that you are able to expand Sparkle Stories to an app. Everyone I’ve introduced to your website is thrilled, especially those with the same desire to avoid screen time.  I think showing the stories off via the app will make passing on your good work even easier!
~Kristi, Lynwood, Washington, USA

The Sparkle Kickstarter FAQ

Media-Player-Headphones_Mobile_Sparkle-Stories_032615 (1)

Now that our Kickstarter Campaign is up and rolling,
you may have some questions!

Here are some thoughts we have about our project, and why we are working with Kickstarter!

(Find the Sparkle Kickstarter Campaign HERE!)


Why a Sparkle Story App?
 
After an extensive survey with Sparkle families, we learned two very important things:  
1. our community deeply believes in what we do, and 
2. they would like an easier way to both listen to and share the stories, particularly on mobile devices.  
 
Our response is to accelerate our business plan and rebuild our website top to bottom so that it can have a native app extension.  This app will make listening as easy as netflix, audible and itunes – but it will also help grow a community of like-minded parents and educators who believe in slowing down children’s media and giving the children nourishing content rather than stimulating content.  (This is our mission!)

 

Why Kickstarter?
 
Kickstarter is a “crowd-funding” platform, where individuals can “back” creative projects.   Creative projects are presented as “campaigns”, and communities come together to contribute to the project.  Individuals may “back” the project at any amount they choose.  The project only “funds” if the pledging hits the established goal.
 
In turn for financial backing, individuals are given prizes to enjoy.  In the Sparkle project, there will be audio books, t-shirts, original images and other fun prizes!  

And ultimately — if the project funds — everyone will have the ultimate prize of the Sparkle App and super-savvy website!
 
We chose Kickstarter because it’s a powerful way to fund a project.  Kickstarter funding will allow us to dive into our project quickly and bring it to fruition much faster than “bootstrapping” would.   And it gives us freedom that a conventional business loan or investor relationship may not. 

 

Why not just take out a business loan?

If the Kickstarter campaign does not reach it’s goal, we will take out a conventional business loan to complete the project.  However the Kickstarter allows us to do several things: Continue reading “The Sparkle Kickstarter FAQ” »


sparkle crafts – lemonade (or mud pie) stand bunting

sparklestories.com | martin 7 sylvia: saturdays! | lemonade stand bunting

In this week’s Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays! story, “Lemons and Mud”, Sylvia and Martin are inspired by the warm spring morning to set up their first lemonade stand of the season. There’s just one problem – no lemons! No matter what type of stand you’re setting up, this festive bunting will be the icing on the cake. It’ll make your stand the most special one in town!

You Will Need

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | lemonade stand bunting

Solid Fabric Rectangles (about 6 inches by 8 inches each)

Contrasting Fabric Scraps (about 5 inches by 6 inches each)

Scissors

Pinking Shears

Pellon Fusible EZ-Steam

Iron

Bias Tape

Needles

Sewing Machine

What To Do

Start by gathering your fabric scraps and trimming them to size. You’ll need to iron each scrap so that they lay nice and flat. If you’re making the word “lemonade” you’ll need 8 solid fabric rectangles and 8 contrasting scraps. If you’re making a different word or words, adjust your numbers accordingly.

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | lemonade stand bunting

Cut your EZ-Steam to about the same size as your fabric scraps. Carefully peel away the paper backing and attach to the wrong side of your fabric. Do this for all the fabric scraps.

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | lemonade stand bunting

Using your scissors, cut out the letters needed to make the word or words for your bunting. Important: you’re cutting on the wrong side, so you’ll have to cut out the letters backwards!

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | lemonade stand bunting

Following the directions from the EZ Steam Package and using your iron, attach the letters to the solid fabric rectangles in the center.

With your pinking shears, trim three sides of the solid rectangle. Do not cut the top side of the rectangle.

sparklesotries.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | lemonade stand bunting

Lay out your letters, in order, on a flat table.

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | lemonade stand bunting

Leaving a 2-3 feet of a tail, insert each letter into the center of the bias binding, pinning in place.

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | lemonade stand bunting

Once all the letters are attached, use your sewing machine to sew the bunting together. Starting at the very end of the bias binding, sew as close to the edge as you can. Each time you arrive at a letter, be sure that the top of the rectangle is completely enveloped in the bias binding.

Trim your thread ends and voila! You have a festive banner!

 

Explore More & Make Connections

Have you ever noticed a banner like the one you made? Where was it? What was it being used for?

Could you use these instructions to make a whole fabric alphabet?


Andrea & Danielle are the creative makers, friends, and co-founders behind Crafting Connections, a magazine and website dedicated to bringing families the tools and inspiration for living creative lives while raising curious & creative children.


ABOUT Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays!

Saturdays are special days for our creative brother and sister. From enormous art projects in their own backyard to “explorers” adventures up Mooseberry mountain; from mornings of quiet building along the creek, to whole-family canning adventures in the kitchen, the children find fun and inspiration at every turn.

EACH WEEK there are
THREE THINGS to ENJOY:rp_291f6b3d-104e-4ed1-8cbf-c7ae51f98df9.png

1.  A FRESH STORY about brother and sister’s adventures.
2.  A CRAFT or PROJECT on the Sparkle Blog inspired by the week’s story.
3. And a PRINTABLE PROJECT PAGE for more creative fun.

SUBSCRIBE and fill your week with Martin & Sylvia-style fun!


The Sparkle Kickstarter Campaign is up!

 

We are so excited!

For years, “Sparklers” have enjoyed our hundreds of stories on their desktop computer, mp3 players and burned CD’s. More and more, however, are listening with their smart phones or tablets – and all agree the experience could be easier.  

It is time for a Sparkle Stories App!

Right now, Sparklers have their own unique log-in that opens a Story Box on the Website. The Story Box holds all the audio stories they have purchased – and those that subscribe find fresh stories every week. 

With the Sparkle Stories App, Sparklers will have a “Smart Story Box” that will not only store the many stories they purchased, but free stories and podcast stories as well.

Sparklers can then search for a particular story by theme or keyword, and then find just the right one for that moment. 

Perhaps there is a story that helps your child fall asleep. Or maybe your child is feeling nervous and you want a story that helps them relax. Maybe you are headed to a doctor’s appointment or a new school and you want a story that will entertain them, but also give them reassurance and resilience

Search for the story and then start listening. The player will not be interrupted and will remember your place if you have to stop.

And the Sparkle Stories App has delightful graphics for the different stories and story series, so it is clear and easy enough for a four year old to navigate.

Our goal is to start with an iOS app for smartphone and tablet – and then – with a series of stretch goals – extend the functionality and ease of use to an android app and our website – making the Sparkle Stories site responsive and bringing the “Smart Story Box” and robust player to the desktop experience as well.  

Help us build the Sparkle Story App!

Find the Sparkle Kickstarter Campaign HERE
and consider pledging $2 or more
!



friday’s kind words

Whenever a Sparkle family takes the time to share their experience with the stories, we are delighted and moved.  Each week we like to share some of the kind words we receive!

:::

We have been loyal Sparklers for at least three years. The kids love them, the parents love them, it’s a wonderful thing. But the Easter story pack – I waffled about buying it, and am once again not disappointed, and ever so grateful that I did.

We are a Christian family, but I really struggle with how to explain Easter in a non-frightening manner. I have not listened to the entire series yet, but so far, am once again impressed with the sensitivity and care with which you are presenting this information.

My kids are listening, interested, learning, and not alarmed.

I love how a piece is presented each day. I love how each day, you recap the days before. I love how the Christian part is presented alongside the nature/Spring themes. I love the mentions of mindful use of technology as they message their friends. And that the world is big, and not everyone is on “our time” with regard to seasons and celebrations. And my mind was practically blown when Martin and Sylvia’s family listened to a Willowbee Tree story in their car. Whoa. Story within a story.

Thank you again, so much, for all you do. Sparkle Stories is such a treasure, and I wish everyone could discover them….

~Gillian, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA


sparkle crafts – easy homemade bath paints

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | easy homemade bath paints

In this week’s Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays! story, “Spring Thaw Paddle Tour”, Martin and Sylvia are excited to paddle along with Mama and Daddy in the town’s annual celebration. When townsfolk gather together on the water in boats and canoes to enjoy the freshly thawed sights. But as they are getting the canoe ready, Martin starts to sneeze as a spring cold sets in, fever and all! Sylvia can’t bear to leave her brother behind and instead hatches a plan to bring the spring thaw paddle tour to Martin, constructing boats from a few items from the kitchen. Today we’re going to add a bit of scenery to Sylvia’s indoor paddle tour with a bit of homemade bath paint!

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | easy homemade bath paints

You Will Need

(Option 1)
Shaving cream
Coloring (such as food coloring or liquid watercolors)

(Option 2)
Tempera paint
Small bit of shampoo or body wash

(For Option 1 & 2)
Containers
Paint brushes
Your own Sponge Paddle Boat (get the directions HERE)

What To Do

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | easy homemade bath paints

For Option 1: Spray a bit of shaving cream into your containers. Add a bit of your coloring of choice and then stir stir stir. Voila! You’ve got a bit of nice smelling bath paint!

For Option 2: Combine tempera paint with a bit of soap (for easier removal). Stir stir stir, then paint!

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | easy homemade bath paints

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | easy homemade bath paints|

Now it’s time to paint! We used our paints and boat outside in our water table, then again later in the bathtub at the end of the day. What do you think you would see around a lake – houses, hills, trees, birds or animals? Paint up your ideas, then set your boat out for a sail.

**The beauty is that neither paint will stain (hooray!) Plus, if you tire of brushes you can use your fingers instead for a creative sensory experience.

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | easy homemade bath paints

Explore More & Make Connections

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | easy homemade bath paints

Do you have a lake, river, or pond in your town? Does it freeze in the winter or do you live somewhere warm? What do you see around the water? Can you paint some of those things?

Have you ever gotten sick when you were looking forward to doing something? Going to a show, a class, or a town event of your own? How did it feel to miss the event? How do you think Martin felt when Sylvia decided to stay back with him?

 


Andrea & Danielle are the creative makers, friends, and co-founders behind Crafting Connections, a magazine and website dedicated to bringing families the tools and inspiration for living creative lives while raising curious & creative children.


ABOUT Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays!

Saturdays are special days for our creative brother and sister. From enormous art projects in their own backyard to “explorers” adventures up Mooseberry mountain; from mornings of quiet building along the creek, to whole-family canning adventures in the kitchen, the children find fun and inspiration at every turn.

EACH WEEK there are
THREE THINGS to ENJOY:rp_291f6b3d-104e-4ed1-8cbf-c7ae51f98df9.png

1.  A FRESH STORY about brother and sister’s adventures.
2.  A CRAFT or PROJECT on the Sparkle Blog inspired by the week’s story.
3. And a PRINTABLE PROJECT PAGE for more creative fun.

SUBSCRIBE and fill your week with Martin & Sylvia-style fun!

 

 

 


friday’s kind words

Whenever a Sparkle family takes the time to share their experience with the stories, we are delighted and moved.  Each week we like to share some of the kind words we receive!

:::

We are HUGE fans of Sparkle Stories! My children have been sick for about a week and it’s been so lovely to have stories for them to listen to instead of watching TV. They are entranced and we are thrilled! Please keep up the excellent work!

~Kara, Akron, Ohio, USA


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