Thursday, 19 October 2017

Diwali Lantern

I am told that they were making rangoli from coloured rice at nursery this afternoon, which sounds like a brilliant activity. This inspired our own afternoon activity, which was to make a Diwali lantern. We decorated some tracing paper with crayons and wrapped it around a lid before inserting an LED nightlight (or two) into the lantern. Happy Diwali to all those celebrating today...

Hot Glue and Pastels

My glue gun gets used for all sorts and certainly not always for glue. I particularly liked this idea though. We've tried using PVA glue to resist paint before but it takes great patience waiting for the PVA to dry. Hot glue, on the other hand, dries really quickly and leaves a solid border to be filled in. Jessica used chalk pastels to fill in the design on this occasion. She scribbled in the gaps and then used her fingertip to spread the colour and fill in the gaps.

She coloured the leaves green first and then decided they should be brown as it was autumn! She also added a sun and some lovely fluffy white clouds. Here's her final piece hanging in the conservatory.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Fingerprint Tree

This was our last week at Toddler Group under the leadership of Aimee and Kay. They've done a tremendous job for the past year and a bit so we wanted to send them off with a keepsake from the group. They turned out pretty well, don't you think?!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Drawings to Decorations

When I was in Wales in September I asked Kat to do some little sketches for me so that I could make some sample Christmas gifts as I am hoping to offer these personalised decorations for sale this year. After going straight to YouTube to get some inspiration she provided me with this little Santa Claus drawing which I have made into a decoration for her Mum's tree this year. I'm really pleased with it but I particularly love turning young childrens' drawings into keepsakes, which is what I'm hoping to focus on doing this Christmas. Once I've got my samples and wooden blanks ready to go I plan to set up a facebook page and will post details on here. Keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Blue Tit Cake (design inspired by Magpie)

I love Magpie, who produce beautiful homeware and gifts. Their "Birdy" range is probably my favourite and it is this range that inspired my decoration of my husband's birthday cake this year. I have to admit that it was a but of a rushed job and I should have used templates rather than cutting freehand and hoping it fitted together but you can at least tell what it's supposed to be!

Jessica and I used edible ink pens to do the writing, which was nowhere near as easy to use as I had hoped because the icing was fairly soft so the nibs sank in if you weren't really light-handed. Jess loved the cake and couldn't wait to tell Daddy all about it. So much for surprises hey! Happy birthday, David!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Woodland Friends Garland

I've been busy stitching this week in a desperate attempt to get this woodland garland finished before my friend, Laura, has her baby! When her maternity leave started I thought it was probably time to pull my finger out and get it done! She and her husband have a woodland theme running through the nursery and asked if I'd like to make them something like this for the baby. I jumped at the opportunity and was pleased to be able to make use of a book I bought back in May. Mollie Makes Woodland Friends is a lovely book with some fabulous, simple projects in it. I used the ideas and templates as inspiration for my own make here.

I have used felt from Hobbycraft, a single strand of embroidery silk for stitching and bondaweb to adhere the details to faces etc. The animals and toadstools are lightly stuffed and the pieces are all threaded onto a length of narrow green ribbon. Here's a closer look at some of the individual creations...

Finally, here's the finished garland hanging in my craft room, waiting to be delivered to it's new home next week...

Friday, 6 October 2017

Granny Square Poncho

Jessica constantly wants to wrap a blanket around her shoulders so I thought I'd make her a crocheted poncho. That way she can at least keep her arms free. I've essentially made a granny square blanket with the middle missing and a tassel attached...

I began by making a chain long enough to easily fit over Jessica's head and slip stitched it back together to form a loop. I then stitched the sixth round of a standard granny square (6 lots of 3tr 1ch on each side followed by 2ch for each corner) and continued to the twentieth round before completing with a double V edging. Once I'd sewn the ends in I threaded a piece of wool through the neckline (so that the poncho can be tightened once on) and attached a tassel to finish it off.  

Here's my little model showing it off...

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Driftwood Wands

My lovely nephew, Archie, is currently Harry Potter obsessed so Jessica and I gathered up a few driftwood sticks on our holidays in Northumberland with the intention of turning them into wands for his birthday next weekend. I have burned various designs on them and created a little display box for him. Fingers crossed that he'll like them!

Monday, 25 September 2017

Vegetable Printing

We were exploring harvest at Toddler group this morning. Alonside a myriad of other fabulous activities the children got to do some good, old fashioned vegetable printing. We used bunches of celery tied together to make flower-like prints. I used cookie cutters to make potato stampers and we cut apples two different ways to see different prints. Best of all though, we used corn-on-the-cob rollers. I cannot tell you how happy I was when the cobettes were exactly the right size for my rollers!

The finished art work doesn't much reflect how they made them but the little ones seemed to have a lot of fun!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Salt Dough Mice

Salt dough bodies, acorn cup ears and plaited wool tails, these were bound to be a winner!

Jessica made the salt dough and formed the mouse bodies before nursery yesterday. We then painted the bodies and inside of the ears together in the evening before I took over with the fiddly and hot bits - the ears and tails were attached using my hot glue gun. We love the finished family.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Autumn Hedgehogs

I spotted this autumnal craft on Easy Peasy and Fun a while ago and filed a screenshot of it on my phone to be attempted one day. I never really got into Pinterest, not sure why, but my screenshot folder is always bursting with images of the wonderful things that other people make. 

As it was a beautiful, warm September day today it seemed like a good day to find some crisp, dry leaves that would be perfect for this activity. As it turns out we managed to collect them all in the car park at nursery and I think the oak leaves work well. Andreja (author of Easy Peasy and Fun) makes her hedgehog from a paper plate but we just used some card and plenty of double-sided sticky tape. She is 3D and does stand up on her own. I made her base triangular so that her nose comes to a point. We think she's pretty cool!

She's even been off on her adventures in our garden. She seemed to particularly like my Livingstone Daisies!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Portraits on Acetate

It's more than a decade since I regularly used acetates in my lessons yet I had a packet of them upstairs in my craft room completely covered in A-level Maths. I sat in front of the telly meticulously cleaning them last night before putting card frames around a few of them to use with Jessica. 

This afternoon we tried a couple of different ways to draw portraits on acetate. Firstly I held the acetate to my face and asked her to draw me. It isn't the first time we've done it but this time she neglected to give me a mouth and my nose is enormous! However, I'm particularly pleased with my eyelashes...

Next we placed a photograph under some acetate and drew over the top. This encouraged her to really look at the features and she drew hair around her face rather than sticking up out the top of her head for the first time. We taped the photo and acetate to the table and used Sharpies to draw on the acetate.

Here was my effort with the same photograph last night...

Monday, 18 September 2017

Salt Dough Donuts

I can't help it, I just love salt dough! We made a batch with cinnamon and nutmeg in it this week and made them into donuts for Jessica's ever growing bakery. We topped them with acrylic paint icing and a good dollop of glitter sprinkles. Yum!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Harvest Window

We will be making harvest window decorations at Toddler group this week. These will then adorn a window in a local church for their harvest service at the end of the month. We've got paper plate scarecrows, tissue paper apples and bubble wrap sweetcorn to keep us busy. Here are Jessica's examples ready for the session on Monday...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Owlette Costume

Jessica is a big fan of PJ masks and has been nagging me to make her an "Owlette" costume for some time. I can't be doing with trying to make exact copies of costumes and Jessica is happy to use her imagination to some extent so, for now at least, we've stuck to some superhero wings and mask...

Making these wings gave me plenty of practice with bias binding, which I haven't used a huge amount before. I attached ribbon at the top and elastic hoops for her arms so that she can run around with wings out and hands free. Jess decided how to decorate the mask, which is made of stiff felt. She chose to use feathers and glitter glue. Not an authentic Owlette mask but it's very pretty!

I could be wrong but I think she likes it...

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Salt Dough Acorns

Autumn is upon us and with it a whole new season of crafting. Harvest crafts, Halloween and the lengthy crafting preparations for Christmas are but a few things that will keep me busy in the coming months. 

After collecting Jessica from nursery this afternoon we were in no hurry so we sat down on the path outside and explored some acorns. We twisted them out of their cups, rattled them, opened them, skinned them and left them for the squirrels to collect. Jessica thinks autumn is their favourite time of year; she's probably right. We thought we'd take some home to paint and turn into little people with hats on but that wouldn't be fair on the squirrels so I had a better idea...

Let me introduce you to our salt dough acorn family! 

We collected a handful of acorn cups in the woods near our house and then refilled them with balls of salt dough. I popped them in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes, allowed them to cool and then we decorated them using Sharpies. I baked them hotter and faster than I usually would because I wanted the dough to expand slightly so that the hats would be secure. They were fiddly things for Jessica to draw on but she did incredibly well. Here's a closer look...

David wanted to know why we had done this. To be honest, I have no answer to the question. There's little we can do with them now they're finished but the process was fun and it came from one of those special moments when I was just sitting in the sunshine enjoying my daughter and helping her to discover the amazing world around her. I went with the flow and this is where it took us. I suspect we might even do it again!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Dragonflies Galore

It was back to preschool for Jessica yesterday where we discovered that she has moved into the newly opened Dragonfly room. This was such exciting news that we have spent rather a lot of today making and playing with dragonflies in various forms. Five of these went with her to nursery this afternoon and did not return with her but will proudly adorn the classroom from now on. Jessica was very much involved in making all of these although she was happy to leave the fiddly bits to me. She often insists that she can do these things herself but today was content to accept that the wire work was probably a step too far!

Seed beads and beading wire...

Wooden beads, tiny bells and craft wire... I attached string to hold it up and it makes a really delightful jingly noise as it flies!

Pipe cleaner, beads, straws, paper, paint and washi tape...

Lollipop stick, washi tape, coloured film and sharpies...

A stick, PVC tape, contact paper, card and glitter... The picture's not great but the wings are translucent with patches of glitter. This one flew around the garden for about an hour this morning!

Bugle beads rather than seed beads for the body...

Hama beads instead of seed beads... Much easier for Jess to do herself.

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