Mothering Sunday

 

It’s that time of year again when children, (almost) everywhere, are busy making their beautiful Mothers day masterpieces.

Children love being creative, getting messy with glue and paint and of course the dreaded glitter and sparkles that seem to be on floors and surfaces for what seems like forever!

Isla and I had a go at making some lovely gift boxes, a perfect present for Mothers day or anytime of year.

Firstly, we painted our boxes in various paint colours.  We found a few coats were needed to completely cover them so we waited a little while whilst they dried, before adding more paint.

When finished, using PVA glue, we added feathers, sparkles, flowers and gems.  You could use buttons, tissue paper, pom poms or anything else you have in your craft box.

Isla was delighted with her creations, they look so pretty!  I can’t wait to see which one I may be given on Mothers day this year….

        

Easy to Make, Air-Drying Pots!

Isla has been on and on at me for ages to make some air drying pots, but what with Christmas madness, we just hadn’t found a moment.  So, when Father Christmas brought some air drying clay, she was so excited and I promised we’d make them.  It was really fun and we both enjoyed having a go.  This is how we did it;

You’ll need some air drying clay, (we used coloured but you could use white and then paint/colour them afterwards), a rolling pin and a bowl or jar to shape your pot.

 

 

 

Firstly, roll out some sausage shapes using the colours you’d like your pot to be

 

 

 

 

Next, entwine all of the sausages and twist them together.  This will help produce the lovely marbled effect of your finished pot

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next step is to form a ball, flatten and roll out, as you would when baking

 

 

 

Then, if you want more of a marbled effect, roll the clay into another sausage, twist again and repeat the process.  The more you twist and re-roll, the more marbled your pot will be.

Once you’re happy with the colour combination, roll out again like a pancake and decide what sort of size you’d like your pot to be.  Ideally it should be about 0.5 cm thick.

 

 

Find your bowl or jar and then either drape the clay over the bottom of the jar or gently ease inside the bowl.  Gently shape the outside so it curves in a wavy shape, this will produce the lovely pretty sides to your pot.

         

We left them to dry for 24 hours.  You can then take metallic felt pens or paints and colour/paint the top edge of the pot or decorate as you wish.  We’re really rather pleased with ours.  Do let us know if you have a go, we’d love to see your masterpieces.

    

 

Christmas Creations!

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It’s that time of year again when we’re thinking about Christmas….. It’s hard to avoid as the second Halloween is over, the shops and TV are full of Christmas ideas to pile on the pressure!!

At Isla’s school, they encourage the children to design a Christmas card which is then printed onto A6 size cards.  They always look so cool when printed and the fact that the children design onto A4 and then they’re printed smaller, kind of blurs any tiny mishaps, (as we had)!

This year, our design was baubles.  Isla drew round a small beaker to make the bauble shape.  We stuck them onto the paper and decorated them with sequins and gems.  Glue sticks didn’t seem to hold all of the sequins in place so Mummy had the great idea of using a stronger glue.  Mummy then had fingers stuck to paper, fingers stuck to sequins and mostly stuck anywhere, except the sequins on the paper…. That was a bad move and very frustrating.  In the end, with a little patience, we got there.

The final part of decoration was drawing the thread for the baubles, sticking on festive stars and then adding a greeting.

Today, the cards were delivered to school and they look fantastic.  They even add the name of the designer and school name on the back of the card.  Very cute and a lovely Christmas card to send to all family and friends.

For more Christmas card ideas, here are a few of our favourites;

christmas-card-santa  christmas-card-reindeer christmas-card-girl

shaker-christmas   christmas-sponges christmas-rollers

Harvest Festival Frolics!

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There is much excitement in our house this autumn.  Harvest festival is always a lovely school assembly.  It’s great to see all of the beautiful boxes that the children have made, an abundance of colourful, shiny and tasty looking harvest boxes.

At Isla’s school the boxes are distributed locally among some of the residential care homes for the elderly.  Year 3 have always been honoured with the task of personally delivering these lovely parcels to the local residents.  This year of course, Isla is in YEAR 3!  Oh my goodness, she is beside herself with excitement and cannot wait to ‘take the harvest festival boxes to the ‘poor old people’.

So we set to work on designing and decorating the mandatory shoe box in which to pack some lovely goodies.  We used a lot of tissue paper, some artificial leaves and a colourful leaf border.  A stapler was handy and of course there was a LOT of glue used!!

First we covered the box in small tissue paper squares.  We scrunched the tissue squares up and glued them into the inside of the box too, to create a nest type of look.

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Then we stapled the gorgeous corrugated leaf border around the bottom of the box. Lastly, the artificial leaves were stapled randomly all over the box and Isla insisted on scattering some into the base of the inside too.  It certainly looks autumnal, wouldn’t you say?

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Perfectly Pretty Pebbles!

After a recent trip to the seaside, we seemed to come home with what felt like, half the beach!!?  A handful of the ‘best’ stones we’ve kept but the others, well, I was told under no circumstances were they NOT to be thrown away!

So, what to do with these stones? Isla loves a bit of colouring and generally decorating anything seems to always be a favourite hobby!  So out came the pens and pencils and these were the results.  Not necessarily the prettiest or cleverest of designs but Isla loved creating them and using pencil meant they could be rubbed out and decorated all over again.

Paints are a great way of decorating stones and pebbles too and a clear varnish over the top will keep them looking lovely and shiny.  There are some great ideas and some are so very detailed.  For a selection of paints, look here…

stone1    stones   stoneLadybirds

 

How lovely are these.  The owls and ladybirds are so pretty and the dominoes are a fantastic idea.

For larger stones or small rocks, how about a cute fairy house?  You could make a little village maybe?

Such a cute idea that will keep them entertained for ages 🙂

Stone-Craft

 

Cheese & Corn Mini-Scones

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With school starting again in September, I’ve been thinking a lot about packed lunches!

I HATE making packed lunches and it’s been 2 years since I’ve done it so I’m finding myself dreading it again.  I just get so bored of making the same ham sandwiches day in, day out and I’m sure Isla must get bored of eating the same things all the time.

So, in a quest to try and liven things up a bit and keep those lunchboxes exciting, I’ve been thinking about healthy alternatives to the sandwich.

The other day, we made these lovely cheese and sweetcorn mini scones.  At first Isla was not keen on the idea, but she couldn’t resist a bit of baking so succumbed!

   

They really are ever so easy to make;

Ingredients:

  • 175g (6oz) whole-wheat flour
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) baking powder
  • 50g (2oz) butter, chilled
  • 50g (2oz) grated mature cheese
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) sweet corn, canned, in natural non-sweetened or salt juice
  • 150ml (1/4pt) semi-skimmed milk
  • Egg and milk to glaze
  1. Mix the flour and the baking powder together in a large bowl
  2. Add the butter and rub into the flour, until resembles fine crumbs
  3. Add the cheese and sweetcorn and mix again
  4. Add the milk and combine together to form a soft dough
  5. Turn onto a floured surface and roll out until about 3cm (just over 1in) thick – cut out using either a mini cutter or a glass with a diameter of about 4cm (1 3/4 in) – this made about 28 mini-scones
  6. Place on a greased baking tray, glaze with egg and milk and cook in a preheated oven 230°C / 450°F / Gas 8 for about 10 mins until well risen and golden brown

As you can see, we made an assortment of sizes to try out the best.  The small was too small and the largest were probably a bit big so the middle sized ones definitely worked best.  They were delicious warm and Isla loved them without butter but personally I’d prefer a little (or a lot) of butter on mine!

For other great, healthy alternatives to sandwiches, have a look here; http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/pictures/29229/30-packed-lunch-ideas

If you have any packed lunch ideas, I’d really be delighted to hear about them.

Creative Thank You’s!

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July is a busy time for us.  We have Isla’s birthday, family birthdays and of course the end of term.

Isla had a wonderful birthday, a pamper party with 9 of her school friends.  They had mini manicures, pedicures, a little make up and then their hair done.  Many thanks to Nicky’s Beauty Box for all your help.

IMG_6215They all had a fantastic time, lots of girly giggles!  Isla received some wonderful birthday presents from her friends and at the weekend we made some thank you cards.

It’s easy to buy thank you cards but on searching the internet, there are so many wonderful designs that are so easy to create.  Luckily, we had all the necessary bits and pieces, (card, brown paper, glue and pom poms) and it was fun to make them together.  I had the job of cutting and Isla loved doing all the sticking…..  Pretty impressive I think!?

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On the subject of thank you cards, I was invited to a wonderful, ‘thank you assembly’ at school this morning.  The whole school get together and invite all the adult/parent helpers. Each year perform a lovely song and then hand out their beautifully creative thank you cards.  Isla brought mine over to me which was so lovely and it really is so brilliant.  A fabulous idea and a treasure I shall keep.  THANK YOU……

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Scrunchable Holiday Packing!

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Having just returned from a lovely holiday in Crete, this dismal, dreary weather is really not very welcome in our household!

Why is it that when you get home you find yourself saying, ‘oh gosh, only 24 hours ago and we were sitting by the pool/eating in that beautiful taverna/enjoying that ice cold beer on our balcony?’  Maybe it’s just me that does that and having been home 6 days, it’s slightly wearing off but I’m still rather ‘post holiday blue’.

All the excitement leading up to the holiday, you get the suitcases out, buy the suncream, and pack all the essential, (and not so essential) items.

Generally, I say no to packing beach/pool toys, lilos etc.  They take up so much room and seem so cumbersome and yet when you arrive on your long awaited holiday, you remember just how horrifically expensive they are to buy – again!!

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So, when I saw the ‘Scrunch’ Bucket and Ball I thought I’d give them a go. They’ve proved a brilliant success. Packing them was a breeze, they’re so squashy, they fit almost anywhere.

The ball comes with a straw to inflate and two stoppers.  Once inflated it’s a great ball that floats, bounces and yet is light and easy to catch.

 

There were many balls around our pool, the usual inflatable ones that you blow up were difficult to play with as the wind changes their direction.  The other plastic ones were just a bit too heavy.  Our Scrunchie ball was perfect.  Coming home, it was easy to deflate and re-pack.

The Scrunchie bucket was also a great idea.  We didn’t use it in the conventional sense as we didn’t go on the beach but it was fab by the pool and in the evening it doubled as a ‘basket ball type’ game.  We attached the handle to a coat hanger, hung it from our outside light and voila, throw anything into the bucket and see who gets the most ‘catches’.

So, I think 10 out of 10 for these products, they’re great quality and perfect for packing. Just a little bit of advice, check you have paid for baggage on your airline ticket.  Clever old me didn’t!!!  5am and the lovely BA lady tells me we only have hand luggage tickets. Ouch, that was money spent before we’d gone anywhere!?

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Happy Fathers Day!

So, it’s a grey and rainy day and I have a very bored, irritable, tired, (shall I go on)? 6 year old to entertain.  It’s not a lot of fun and we’ve been bickering which really isn’t nice.

With Fathers Day in a couple of weeks I thought it may be fun to make some Fathers Day cards.  I love a card and could spend ages choosing, reading all the funny ones and wanting to buy them all.  It never ceases to amaze me though, the cost of a lovely card and also how fun it is to make one and even more so, how lovely it is to receive a hand made card by the person who’s sent it to you.

I have an auntie who hand makes all of her birthday cards.  She remembers every one of us and I have honestly lost count as to how many grandchildren, great grandchildren and now, great great grandchildren she has, and yet, every year, without fail, myself and my own children get hand made cards from her.  She obviously loves doing it, but I’m always really touched to receive one, knowing it’s been made for me.  So thank you Auntie Ann xx

Isla and I Googled, (what on earth would we do without Google)? hand made cards and settled on two designs.  A lion (yes, that is a lion) and pirate themes.

IMG_5909With card, paint, a black pen and wiggle eye, we set about making them.  I have to say, I find this really quite tricky.  My OCD wants to take over, take control and actually make these cards myself.  I want them to be perfect, exactly as I would do them.  After our fractious afternoon already, I tried soooo hard to let Isla do them as she wanted.  The last thing I wanted was more tantrums.  (Hence the lion being, well, maybe not as ‘lionish’ as I’d have wished for)!

All in all I think they are rather lovely and I’m sure Daddy will love that Isla has made these for him, all by herself, with love.

Happy Fathers Day xx

Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday Ideas…

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With the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations being organised and half term upon us, it seems that any rainy days could be spent creating some majestic masterpieces!

I imagine that most towns, villages and schools up and down the country, (and indeed far further afield), will be celebrating in their own way.  There are so many great creative ideas for making, painting, sticking and generally having fun, there really is no excuse not to get involved!

IMG_5681Bunting is so easy to make and looks really effective when hung up, Isla and I made some a few weeks ago.  If you missed it, have a look here…..

Colouring is always fun and a great way to decorate and fill those grey, not for playing outside days.  There are some great colouring pages to print off here….

Our favourites are; 90th Candles, Royal Carriage, A Crown

What about pencil control and tracing practice, they’re covered too, all in the Royal Birthday theme; Horse Parade Pencil Control, Learn to draw a corgi, Queen and corgi maze or a Queen mask?

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How about some life size cutouts?  The Queen, Princes, Princesses, there are so many ideas. Add gems, crowns, feathers, tissue paper, hours of fun and some fabulous creations in the making.  Plus, they’d all make fantastic decorations for bedrooms, corridors and classrooms.

people shapesWhatever you choose to do, as long as there’s plenty of mess and gooeyness, everyone will have fun.  You can’t beat a bit of paint and glitter glue!!