MARCH breAK! 2012: Necktie Bean-Bag Snakes…and Lunch!

To go with the Snake Detective Mystery I wrote for the kids to illustrate,  The Adventures of Sir Lochrann Holmes: A Study in Emerald, (we’re on chapters Chapters 4&5), we made Necktie Bean-bag Snakes today!  We also had a fantastic snakey lunch, complete with home baked salt and vinegar chips, snakewiches, and shakes…you’ll find that on the bottom of the page!

Back to the snakes…The kids named their snakes after characters in the book. Tobes chose, “Seann McUaitson,” our Irish serpent version of John Watson, of course. And, Bea chose  “Irene Adder,” who makes a cameo in the second chapter of our book and (little does Bea know) shows up at the “tail-end” of our story with the promise of a new adventure. The kids can’t stop cuddling their snakes and walking around with them wrapped over their shoulders like circus performers!

DIY Necktie Bean-Bag Snakes


Neckties (We found St. Pat’s themed ties at the $tore!)
Plastic Googly Eyes
Ribbon or Red Duct Tape Folded over on itself.
Sewing Machine or Needle and Thread or Coloured Duct Tape
Hot Glue
Dried Split Peas, Lentils or other small beans, about 4-6 cups per snake
Wide funnel or paper cone.
Meauring Cup
UPDATE: Red or Green Duct Tape for wounded snakes.


1a. For an only partially lined tie like our dollar store model (there’s only lining below the wide front tip), invert the narrow tip at the opposite end of the tie, and sew the tie closed at an angle
1b. For a fully lined tie, Do nothing 🙂

2a. For an unlined tie, just open up the tie.
2b. For a fully lined tie, use scissors or a seam ripper to open a small opening in the lining of the widest part of the tie at the tip.

3. Insert a wide funnel or a paper cone  into the hole in the lined tie or into the center of the unlined tie.

4. Use a measuring cup to spoon dried beans into tie until it is full within an inch or so of the opening.

5. Cut a forked tongue out of ribbon or folded duct tape.

6a.1 If your tie is partially lined like ours, pull out the lining and sew it in a “rectangle” shape as below.

6a.2Then, turn the tie. Punch in or  invert the rectangle so that the fabric will lie flat against the tie. Pull this fabric towards you slightly and, without sewing through the front of the tie, sew across that straight line as if it is the lower lip or jaw of a mouth.

6a.3Sew the non-forked end of the tongue on the top half of this seam.

6a.4Shaking beans down away from the snake’s head, sew this seam down flat against the V of the tie to secure tongue and excess material.

6a.5 flip snake over and top stitch its V if so desired.

6b. If your tie is lined, insert the non-forked end of the tongue and sew the opening closed.

7. Hot glue googly eyes on the “head” of the snake where you see fit.

8. If you want a “rattler,” you can wrap duct tape around the tip of the tail for the desired effect. Our snakes are grass snakes, so it just wouldn’t do!

Et voila!

UPDATE: The seams on one of our dollar store ties weren’t the best, so we ended up placing red duct tape over the seams on the belly of Tobe’s snake. It seemed only fitting that our “McUaitson” would sustain an injury so soon, seeing as he’s injured at the beginning of our story, too!

…And Lunch: We wanted to post some pictures of the fancy lunch we made today!

We tried the fantastic recipe for Oven-fried Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips over on the blog. I don’t think we dried our slices enough, and I think we cooked them for too long…but they still tasted fantastic! We also made indvidual sub sandwiches into a snake by adding pimento-green-olive-eyes and roasted red pepper tongue and tail. And, the kids had Shamrock-Green Vanilla and Lovely Chocolate Shakes, both with Mint Garnish, for an extra-special treat!

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