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Allison Fouse

I'm sorry, what exactly do you mean by "Africanize"? That can be construed as highly offensive lingo, even for cracker folk like myself. Poor choice of words.

Lucy Locket-Pocket

Thanks for a great and simple tutorial - I wouldn't have thought of doing this! Lucy x

jo 戎嶋

ooohhh I had forgot about making these. we always used rice but be warned, they burst if you fill with rice, I always put an extra 3 or 4 balloons.


I lOVE these. I'm going to try one right now!


I think this is an excellent idea! I can't wait to try this with my 3 year old!


WOW "Africanize" As Amanda stated very poor choice of words. I too am a cracker and easily could see how that could be taken quite offensively. Hopefully you meant it in the nicest of ways like to mean "being very creative" "resourceful" or "ingenious".


So cool, thank you. Clarice


This looks like a fun project. Do you promise they are sturdy? It would be a long trip for you, from Africa, to clean up my kitchen:) Sorry you were misunderstood.


Really? It isn't okay for her to say "Africanize" but it is okay for you to say "cracker?"


Very cool! I can't wait to try this. Great idea!


I think she lives in Africa and probably meant "Africanize" as a way of saying how to do something in a less progressive nation where there isn't a convinience store selling funnels at every corner. :) As for me, I luckily have a funnel... and can't wait to make these for my little girl... comprimising her two favorite things: balloons and balls. Thanks for the great tutorial!


GREAT idea- we will do this very soon!

Allison Fouse

Christain, it was a play on words, and a way to get my point across and get people thinking. Obviously it worked.


Love this! We will be doing this later today!

Sue at eLuckypacket

Katurah, I love these. Would you mind me linking to this tutorial from eLuckypacket? And could I used the last picture for my post linking to you?

Angela Fehr

Love these - I'm going to try them with the kids as soon as they wake up from their naps!


We made these before...I had forgotten all about them...thanks for the reminder...It's also fun to fill them with things like sand, un-popped popcorn etc...and play a "what is it" game :o)


Jane Hurst

What a great project. I think I will try these today! Thank you :-)


Oh these look fantastic - I am going to have fun with these, and my toddler will too!

Thanks for sharing!


I watch my 2 grandsons age 10 and 8 from 11 am to 9 pm so this will be a fun project to keep the "I'm bored!" guys busy. I'm also going to have them make the plane and whirly bird. Thanks, Terri


I can almost feel them through my screen... I'm definitely going to make these!


I have LOVED your guest stint on the Crafty Crow. Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas!!!


Wow. That was a bit of a nasty surprise after four days without internet. I live in Malawi, which is in Africa for those of us who are geographically challenged, and to "Africanise" is a term we use here all the time. It is a bit tongue in cheek, yes, but also a bit proud of ourselves as we know how to make do. I am sorry if anyone found the term offensive. That would never be my intent. I must put it down to a cultural misunderstanding and move on, ok?



Living in Africa is QUITE different than living in the US. No racism or put-downs in that comment - Just an observation of the obvious. Get over it, folks . . .

Don't stress, Stephanie - life isn't about making everybody happy, or I would be paranoid about ever writing a single thing.


hi, i just want to leave a note saying i'm sorry you were misunderstood. anybody reading your blog on a regular basis knows how passionate and protective you feel towards Africa and their habitants. hope you fell better by now. by the way a love the tutorial. i might be making them during the summer holidays for my niece. take care, erika


When I lived in Tanzania, everyone was always very proud of their improvised versions of conventional implements. They were always shown off to us with a great deal of humour and were referred to as 'local' e.g. a 'local' ladder (nailed together from bits of wood, looked like a death trap but was surprisingly sturdy!). My favourite was the 'local' bottle-opener - your teeth! (Although I've never dared use that method myself.) Looks like you've got a great 'local' funnel there.
I love reading your blog Katurah, it reminds me of so many of the things I miss about living in Africa. Please don't be put off by a couple of people's reactions to something they don't understand.


Wow, so Africanize is offensive but Americanize, say, isn't?! Come on, where's your open mindness, your sense of humour, your flexibility?
PC is still claiming lives!!!! (hey, this was a joke, ok?)

Marta from Lisbon


Katurah, I think in a world where everything has to be politically correct, things can be taken overboard and most definitely taken out of context. I'm sorry your really neat, fun and simple craft was marred by a seemingly unnecessary discussion. Aren't there more serious things to worry about like what's going on in Sudan or Somalia or Chad, the AIDS crisis in Africa, famine, etc.? And to reassure you, it has always been heart-warming to see your love of the beauty that is found in Africa, from the land to its' people.

Rebecca F.

Wow. I didn't even see that comment as offensive either.

Hugs Katurah. We know you here....


I made these the night you posted. Two of my girls were home, one of whom is 3. They had so much fun doing this project. Like some of you, I'd done this when I was small girl but doing it with my children was a whole new experience and memory. We made quite a mess although it was by design purely enjoying the moment with a toddler. Thanks for the idea and helping in the creation of a wonderful memory. Chow.

Mary Smith

I love your crafts, the way you show the steps makes them seem easy to make. I think I'm going to try a couple of them!


Just sounded like a play on words to me! (Africa + Improvise)

Don't let other people's silliness get you down. I love your sweet blog and your lovely photography.

Madame Chacha

Great idea, great result ! I will definitely try this one for the next plum's birhday...


I've been a reader of this blog for a while now. I spent my high school years in Kenya, and I am a white American, yet I undersatnd what you mean by "Africanize." To me it DOES mean to be resourceful, unique, creative, and sometimes to re-purpose materials that American's may only think have ONE purpose.

I just wanted to say thank you for using the word and starting this dialog. Americans need to be educated about African culture (and geography, for that matter, because Africa is a CONTINENT with many COUNTRIES, like Malawi), and of equal importance, we need to be educated about what it's like to be an American living in Africa.

Finally, it's shocking to me that someone would think you used "Aficanize" in a negative way. Have they not read the rest of your blog?!


Wow Katurah, you should totally make all these instructions and photos into a book. I would buy it!!


And by the way Mara, above, you have hit the nail on the head. Thank you. I grew up in Africa too and am proud of how I still know how to "Africanize" here in Canada. It basically means using your brain and being resourceful and creative.


I think I am hopelessly un-crafty - I tried these today and they didn't look as perdy as yours. Whaa! But you know what? The kids didn't really care. :-)


I am sad that someone decided to use your blog to make such statements. I had seen no indication of offense.... it is a beautiful blog ( which I visit regularly) and I have loved all your crafty posts!

I checked out a definition of africanize on a number of online dictionaries and each outlined 2 definitions and whilst one may have negative conotations the other was purely what I had thought your post meant:

to give an African outlook, character, etc
to cause to acquire a distinctively African trait
To make African, as in culture

And here's the definition of americanize:
to make or become American in character, manners, methods, ideals, etc.
to cause to acquire or conform to American characteristics

I hadn't meant to respond to this but I was sad for you and felt that I wanted to offer you my support.


new here. found you via the crafty crow. i think i may try this today. :>


oh katurah, i've been gone for a while and just read this - poor lovely you! of course there's nothing wrong with saying "africanize"! my family visited africa often growing up, and as you say, it's a term that is, in a way, honoring - being resourceful and not wasteful. I like what someone said above me, that it reflects a continent where, in many places, you don't always have everything at hand in a multitude of shops. There are simply cultural differences that have pros and cons (like the descriptive word "americanize" - can be positive or negative, but it certainly isn't an ethnic slur). Besides... your voice is always full of kindness, gentleness and respect - how could we assume differently?


In Argentina we say "we tie it with a piece of wire", meaning, we will repair anything with a piece of wire- In the USA, where i live now, people don't repair things, they buy new ones, so people lost this "need" or resourcefulness to substitute one thing for the other. Here, if you don't have the "exact" part for the "exact" thing you cannot go forward with the project- so it is about resourcefulness when living in conditions that are less than perfect, where you cannot always find (or can afford!) what you need.


I'm putting a link to your wonderful instructions on my blog and using your photograph. If that is a problem please let me know. Thanks for sharing a fantastic idea! We loved making them.


What a clever idea!


To the PPs- What's a cracker? Are you a saltine or a wheat cracker? Rye or Ritz?

I took no offense to the term "africanize" but then again, I'm just a human, not a cracker. ;-)


i wish with all my heart that everyone would just take a minute to mull things over before being offended. in africa, and in cuba, and in pockets of the world, people figure out how to do things without the "proper" tools and materials for lack of a store or money. i sometimes do it myself and i'm always so proud that i didn't go to the store and buy whatever i think i needed to get er done. i believe stephanie did say this with great pride in her current home and, like i said, i really wish people wouldn't always be looking for the worst.

here's a very cool saying from the southland that i try to live by (and don't always):

use it up, wear it out
make it do, or do without!


doh! i'm sorry, i seemed to have called you by the wrong name. i don't know why but i do apologize. katurah is such a beautiful name....


I am SO thrilled and am off to make these right now! I think it's nice manners to send an email if you want to clarify something someone has written on their blog. Because often there are misunderstandings betwixt people that don't know one another personally - and the intent of phrases can easily be misconstrued. As a reader I think it's much nicer to email someone personally to clarify something, rather than take it up publically in a forum of thousands.

Thank you very much for taking the time to write and photograph for this tute! xx pip


Thank you for the lovely project that my children wil love.

Also thanks to all the lovely people who jumped to this fine artist's defense.


What a great project for me to do with my 4 yr old niece. I am sorry for those who felt led to share their feelings on here with you. In every area we live, we use terms that pertain to "us in our environment". :o) Take care honey.


Hello there. I stumbled across your blog from my friend Dawn who had shared the link of your Beautiful daughter's nightgown. I enjoyed all your Crafty ideas and was thinking of sending the link to my Daughter Jennifer who ALSO lives in Malawi. I continued to read more of your post and low and behold...I saw a picture of your childs school! My Grandson Curtis attends there. I spoke to Jen and she knows you. It warmed my heart so much. In some small way...reading your post makes me feel closer to her. Please help me encourage her to begin a Blog about their everday lives.
P.S. About the Africanize comments. Let them go. They can't hurt you. It's no different than My Son in Law saying: "TIA" This is Africa!
God Bless you.


Katurah, so sorry for the misunderstanding that some had here. Just want to send a little hug your way. xo.

India J

I was so amazed at the number of people "offended" by your choice of words...unbelievable reactions to such a beautiful, generous post -
have any of these people ever lived in Africa (or even been anywhere near the place)..?
I doubt it.
I was born and brought up in West Africa and have widely travelled the African continent (and the world) and I certainly did not find your words offensive...
I don't get to visit often but I LOVE your blog - and remember :
"When it comes to being you, you were made for the part. So speak your lines with confidence."
~Max Lucado, Cure for the Common Life
Back soon for some more inspiration..:)


Hey crafty crow!

I'm 12 and I still love to make these, I made them for a joke present for my friends birthday and she loved them! I gave them hair made from wool too! I love them to bits!

Mattie! xxx


I remember I used to buy these and always wondered how they made them. Thanks a lot! Also for a little more fun you can draw faces on them and stuff c:


Hi, I finally got to do this project with my 5 year olds and I linked to you today. Thank you so much for sharing.


A good way to fill these is to put a likely amount of beans etc in a clean dry bottle, using a funnel or whatever. Then slightly inflate the balloon,being careful not to stretch the rubber: just enough to make it stand up by itself. Twist the neck so the air stays inside while you stretch the open end over the bottle. turn it over so the filling falls down into the balloon, remove bottle, knot balloon. Easy!

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