project // pick-up sticks (with a carry case!)
Now that Memorial Day has passed, and the weather is, at last, warming up, it's starting to feel like summer. Or at least like summer is coming! In the warm days of June, July and August, one of the things I enjoy most is sitting around the table on our backyard patio. After dinner, you feel like you can linger a bit longer than we do around the kitchen table. I suppose summer has that effect...
For when you and/or your kids have some leisure time, why not play a game of pick-up sticks? It's simple, a classic, and still has a bit of challenge to it. They're quick to make and customize, and if you're feeling extra industrious, you can even sew up a little bag to keep them in!
Here's what you need for the pick-up sticks:
Bamboo skewers (I used 6", but you could use the longer variety!)
Washi tape in three colors/patterns
Craft glue (maybe...I'll explain!)
Here's what you need for the carry case:
To decorate each pick-up stick, cut off a 1-inch piece of washi tape and wrap it around one end of a bamboo skewer.
Some of my tape was apparently feeling grumpy, and not wanting to stick to itself, but a bit of craft glue fixed that. If your tape behaves itself, you can skip the glue. But if the pattern of the tape is more important (as it was for me!), go with glue.
Now, make a bunch of these. I made 30 all together, but you could do more or less. I also used my colors as a means of adding points into game play:
Gold stripes = 3 points, pink polka dots = 2 points, & solid navy = 1 point.
I also made the higher point sticks less plentiful, so in my set there are 5 gold, 10 pink, and 15 navy. Make sense? Cool. With that, your game is done, so now it's time to make the case.
Cut a strip of fabric that is 2.5 inches x 20 inches. If you're using longer skewers, you'll need to almost double the length.
Fold and press each end down by about 3/8-inch, then fold and press again by 3/8-inch. Sew these ends down by machine.
Fold the strip in half with right sides together so the hemmed ends meet. Sew the sides together.
Clip the corners to reduce bulk, then turn the bag right side out.
Cut three 15-inch pieces of perle cotton. Hold them together and tie an overhand knot at one end.
Loosely braid the pieces and tie a knot at the other end. Trim those ends so they look pretty.
Thread your needle with a piece of perle cotton, tie a knot at the other end, and stitch the middle of your braid onto the bag, about one inch from the top. You may want to take a stitch or two through the braid so it can't slide back and forth, then wrap the stitches around as shown.
Slide your pick-up sticks into the bag...
...and tie it shut so it's ready to take on your next picnic! The bag also makes this little game prefect for gifting.
If this game is new to you, play by grabbing the pick-up sticks and holding them over a hard surface (I'm sure you could do this over a blanket on the grass too...though it might make the game extra challenging!) Drop the sticks and...
...drop the sticks! Every time you'll end up with a different scatter pattern. Sometimes they stay in a messy clump and sometimes they spread out more.
The goal is to pick up one stick without disrupting the others. That means none of the other sticks can move, and everyone playing will want to watch closely to call you out if you mess up! If you do move other sticks, you have to drop the one you were trying to grab.
Once you've successfully picked up at least one stick, you can use that stick as a helper to lift new sticks off of the pile. Sometimes this helps, and sometimes it doesn't...at all!
Take turns picking up the sticks (you could give extra turns for successful pick-ups!), and when the pile is empty, total up your points.